In a statement published on the website of the Russian diplomatic mission, the Russian Embassy in the US has called US demands for Russian media receiving public funding to register as Foreign Agents to be unacceptable. The embassy also noted frequent attempts by foreign special services to recruit Russian journalists.
The Embassy said that orders for the registrations of RT and RIA Global, a content producing company for Sputnik, "impede the regular work of journalist collectives" and "serve as a basis for all sorts of restrictions, which we all witnessed when RT was stripped of accreditation by Congress."
"We deem such actions unacceptable. We consider this to be another blow to Russia-U.S. relations. We are strongly convinced that these steps do not serve U.S. interests, but undermine its image and credibility," the embassy noted, and added that the US continues "the unacceptable practice of exerting pressure on Russian media, instead of promoting mutually beneficial cooperation." "It came down to the revoking of visas and expulsion of Russian journalists. There has been a rise in attempts by foreign special services to persuade them to cooperate," Russia said in the statement.
The request by the US Department of Justice to RIA Global LLC to register as a foreign agent became public the day before the statement was issued. US authorities explained their order by saying that the organization is engaged in "political activities in the United States in the interests of the international news agency Russia Today.” RIA Global has 30 days to complete the Department’s request.
RT America and the company Reston Translator, which is affiliated with Sputnik, were registered earlier as Foreign Agents at the request of the US authorities. Russia, in retaliation, has labeled Voice of America, Radio Liberty and Current Time as Foreign Agents. The law on media Foreign Agents was adopted by the Duma in late November 2017. According to the law, foreign agents are defined as publications that receive foreign funding.