Moscow warns to restrict the operations of U.S. media organisations in Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova gestures during Sergei Lavrov's annual press conference in Moscow, on January 26, 2016. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV

Vastavam web: Russia is within its rights to restrict the operations of U.S. media organisations in Russia in retaliation for what Moscow calls U.S. pressure on a Kremlin-backed TV station, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday.Russian officials have accused Washington of putting unwarranted pressure on the U.S. operations of RT, a Kremlin-funded broadcaster accused by some in Washington of interfering in domestic U.S. politics, which it denies.

“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 in an interview with Russia’s NTV broadcaster. “But this is a particular case.”“Correspondingly, everything that Russian journalists and the RT station are subject to on U.S. 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.She did not identify any specific U.S. media outlets that would be targeted. She said it made no difference from the Russian government’s point of view if those outlets were backed by the U.S. state, or privately-funded.

The watchdog did not publicly disclose the nature of the violation. The head of the regulator said it was a technical matter and denied that politics was involved.U.S. intelligence officials, in a report in January this year into allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, said RT was part of a state-run propaganda machine that supported a Kremlin campaign to influence U.S. politics.