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Russia's top independent radio station receives government warning over program about Ukraine

FILE - In this Friday, July 4, 2014 file photo Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov attends the traditional July 4 garden party at the Spaso House,  residence of the American ambassador, in Moscow, Russia. The Russian government's communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has handed Ekho Moskvy a warning over a program about Ukraine, saying it contained "information justifying war crimes." Venediktov rejected the claim and said the  station would appeal it. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

FILE - In this Friday, July 4, 2014 file photo Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov attends the traditional July 4 garden party at the Spaso House, residence of the American ambassador, in Moscow, Russia. The Russian government's communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has handed Ekho Moskvy a warning over a program about Ukraine, saying it contained "information justifying war crimes." Venediktov rejected the claim and said the station would appeal it. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)  (The Associated Press)

The Russian government's communications watchdog has issued a warning to a top independent radio station over a program about Ukraine.

Roskomadzor's warning to Ekho Moskvy related to this week's program, in which two journalists exchanged first-hand accounts of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and government forces in eastern Ukraine. The agency said Friday the program contained "information justifying war crimes."

Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief, Alexei Venediktov, rejected the claim and said the station would appeal the warning.

Under Russian law, a media outlet could face closure if it receives two warnings in one year. The warning was the first for Ekho Moskvy.

While most Russian media toe the government's line, Ekho Moskvy has given a platform to Kremlin critics despite being majority-owned by a branch of Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled gas giant.