Adnan Kivan, the publisher of the Kyiv Post, said the newspaper will close immediately “for a short time” and Chief Editor Brian Bonner “will retire after closing down the operations of the newspaper.”
Kyiv Post staff issued a separate statement, signed by “The Kyiv Post Newsroom,” saying the move was unexpected and they found out about it when they came to work Monday morning.
“On the morning of Nov. 8, the paper’s employees came to the office only to be notified that they are all being fired, effective immediately,” according to the staff statement.
They said Kivan was planning three weeks ago to expand the paper and launch “a Ukrainian-language outlet under the paper’s brand” with a “hand-picked” editor to lead the new section.
“We saw significant risks in the expansion format chosen by Mr. Kivan. We also saw it as an attempt to infringe on our editorial independence,” the staff statement said.
The Kyiv Post journalists said Kivan had refused their request to sell the paper instead, or hand over the title to the newsroom, and they described his decision to suspend publication as “an act of vengeance.”
“We see this as the owner getting rid of inconvenient, fair, and honest journalists,” they said.
The newspaper has had three owners since launching in 1995, according to its website. American Jed Sunden owned the newspaper from 1995 until 2009 when it was acquired by UK businessman Mohammad Zahoor. Syrian native Adnan Kivan bought the paper in March 2018.
— CNN’s Mayumi Maruyama contributed to this report.