The Ukrainian military has banned journalists from traveling to the front lines in eastern Ukraine unless they travel in special groups escorted by soldiers, the press service of anti-terrorist operation headquarters said in a statement on Dec. 1.

The statement said the new measure was taken in order to protect journalists and that intelligence indicated Russian-backed separatists were “hunting” Ukrainian journalists. The new restrictions, however, also apply to foreign journalists.

The restriction were immediately condemned by journalists, who said it will hinder their work and endanger them.

Media rights groups have called the new regulation an illegal attempt to silence journalists.

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