Criminal investigators and prosecutors were analysing a device discovered and destroyed at a residential building housing Russian news agency personnel in the city’s Steglitz neighbourhood on Saturday, according to Berlin officials.

The device was discovered on Friday, and investigators were investigating how hazardous it was and who it was targeted at, according to a Berlin police spokeswoman in answer to a morning inquiry.

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In an afternoon statement, the police and the city state’s prosecutor said the suspected purpose for planting the device was now being investigated by the department of state security at Berlin’s state criminal police office and the prosecutor’s office.

It is located in the building on Lepsius Street in the south-western district of Berlin.

According to Russia’s embassy in Berlin, a bottle was hurled through a window of the apartment building on Friday evening, and an improvised bomb was discovered during the subsequent search, which German sappers recognised and detonated.

The Russian state-run news outlet RIA reported that journalists were living in the building.

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On Saturday, Russia’s foreign ministry requested that authorities in Germany and other European Union and NATO countries take steps to protect Russian journalists and their families overseas.

“We see this as a direct consequence of the harassment of Russia media and their employees unleashed in the West,” the ministry statement read. “The politicised decision to disconnect Russian media from the airwaves in the European Union was the precursor to their physical intimidation, right up to their elimination.”

On Friday evening, RIA transmitted video footage of a cordoned-off roadway and a person wearing a protective suit, which the agency identified as one of the sappers working to detonate the explosive.

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Several Russian broadcasters have been barred from entering Western countries after being accused of promoting misinformation related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia refers to its efforts in Ukraine as a “special operation” to disarm and safeguard the country from fascists. Ukraine and the West deny the fascist charge and argue that the war is an unjustified act of aggression.

On March 2, state-controlled Russian news channels RT and Sputnik were banned across the European Union.

“Systematic information manipulation and disinformation by the Kremlin is applied as an operational tool in its assault on Ukraine,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, stated at the time.