(New York, NY) — PEN America today expressed deep concern regarding the closure of the Kyiv Post after 26 years providing independent coverage of Ukraine to an international English-speaking audience. Adnan Kivan, the publication’s owner, announced Monday that the newspaper will close “for a short time.”  The paper’s reporters, however, took to Twitter to denounce what they described as a move to silence independent journalism.

“The closure of the Kyiv Post raises a warning signal about the state of independent journalism in Ukraine. While the precise motivations behind the closure are opaque, the possibility that the closure of this vital news outlet could be retaliation by its ownership against the highly-skilled and brave journalists who have made the Kyiv Post what it is today is disturbing,” said Polina Sadovskaya, PEN America’s Eurasia program director. “If this is the case, then the closure and subsequent firing of staff represents a worrying deterioration of press freedom in Ukraine.”

“PEN Ukraine sees grave danger in shutting down or depriving of independence the reputable English-language media outlet about Ukraine,” PEN Ukraine said in a statement. “We support the Kyiv Post editorial staff and consistently advocate freedom of speech and protection of media employees from pressure of owners and authorities. In addition, we support the demands of the staff—that is, to restore the operation of the independent editorial office of the Kyiv Post in its entirety, sell the Kyiv Post, or hand over the Kyiv Post trademark to the newsroom.”

PEN America monitors threats to free expression in Eurasia among artists, writers, and journalists.