Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Sunday that Moscow had the legal right to restrict the activities of US media outlets in response to Washington’s increased pressure on operations inside the United States of Russia Today.
“Correspondingly, everything that Russian journalists and the RT station are subject to on US soil, after we qualified it as restriction of their activities, we can apply similar measures to American journalists, American media here, on Russian territory,” Zakharova said.
The official cited a 1991 Russian law which allows Moscow to impose proportionate restrictions on media outlets from a foreign country in which a Russian media outlet is subject to restrictions.
“We have never used Russian law in relation to foreign correspondents as a lever of pressure, or censorship, or some kind of political influence, never,” Zakharova said, accusing US officials of bringing their full weight to bear against RT’s operations in the US.
She would not elaborate on which US media outlet would be targeted by the potential restrictions but said that there would be no difference between publicly-funded or privately-owned media groups operating in Russia.
Some in Washington have accused the RT of interfering in domestic US politics, a reference to the alleged role of Russia in helping current US President Donald Trump win the last year presidential election. RT denies any attempt to interfere in US politics while adhering to Kremlin’s narrative which speculates that allegations of Russia’s influence are in line with attempts to discredit Trump.