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‘Stringent Measures’: Kremlin Invites US Media Leaders To Discuss Crackdown On Free Press

(Photo credit MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The Kremlin is threatening retaliation against American media companies if restrictions on Russian media in the U.S. aren’t eased, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Russia accused the West as a whole, and the U.S. specifically, of being unfair to Russian media outlets, including state-run outlets, since the country invaded Ukraine in February. The leaders of American media bureaus in Moscow have been invited to the Foreign Ministry next week to discuss what will happen to them if the U.S. does not soften its stance toward Russian media.

“If the work of the Russian media — operators and journalists — is not normalized in the United States, the most stringent measures will inevitably follow,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday, according to Reuters. “To this end, on Monday, June 6, the heads of the Moscow offices of all American media will be invited to the press centre of the Russian Foreign Ministry to explain to them the consequences of their government’s hostile line in the media sphere.”

“We look forward to it,” she added. (RELATED: First Russian Soldier Sentenced To Life In Prison For War Crime In Ukraine)

Zakharova, who was sanctioned by the Biden administration just this week, characterized the U.S. treatment of Russian state-backed media as “cancel culture.”

Last month, lawmakers gave prosecutors the power to shut down foreign media offices in Moscow if those journalists come from a country which has been “unfriendly” toward the Kremlin, according to Reuters.

Russia has introduced 15-year prison sentences for journalists spreading “fake” news about its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Russian state media still refers to the invasion as a “special military operation” and shares false information about Ukrainian activities. In her Friday press briefing, Zakharova continued to parrot some of the Kremlin’s talking points, claiming Russia would continue its campaign to “denazify” Ukraine.