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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Magazine Accused of Disclosing Defense Secrets

A federal media watchdog said Wednesday that it had issued a warning to Kommersant Vlast, the influential news magazine, for divulging military secrets in a report about the Strategic Rocket Forces.

The report, a reference guide published in December, contained technical data on Russian missiles, the locations of missile bases and biographical information about the forces’ commanders.

Vlast said it is accused of disclosing the classified locations of missile units and denied wrongdoing. It said in a statement that the information used in the report had come from public sources, including the Defense Ministry’s newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda.

Under Russian law, a media outlet can be closed by a court if it receives two warnings within 12 months.

The Federal Press and Mass Communication Agency issued the warning in mid-March. “We received an expert evaluation from the Defense Ministry that part of the information published in the magazine contained state secrets, so we reacted according to the law,” spokesman Mikhail Vorobyov said.

Vlast vowed to challenge the watchdog’s decision in court.

The Defense Ministry’s press service declined immediate comment.

Vlast has published other reference guides, including on the branches of power in Russia and even on prisons around the world.

In 2002, prosecutors opened a criminal case against Vlast after the Defense Ministry accused it of divulging classified data in a reference guide on the army. A court later dismissed the case.