Latvian authorities grossly violate its international obligations of respecting the freedom of speech, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said reacting on Riga’s decision to expel journalists working for Russian TV network, Anatoly Kurlayev (pictured) and his wife Olga, according to TASS news agency.
“The official Riga grossly violates its international legal obligations in the field of ensuring the freedom of expression, tramples under foot the founding acts of the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe,” she said.
Zakharova added that “it is absolutely obvious that the Latvian authorities with the silent support from Brussels pursue the objective of fully clearing the country’s information space of unwanted media.”
“We will spare no effort to have relevant international institutions provide due reaction to that,” she stressed. “We call on non-government organizations specializing in the freedom of speech to give adequate assessment of Latvia’s actions, which are unacceptable for a democratic society.”
According to the Russian diplomat, attempts at explaining the journalists’ expulsion by alleging that they are a threat to Latvia’s national security “smack of the totalitarian times of the 1930s in Spain and Germany.”
Zakharova also mentioned “official Paris is planning to toughen control over social networks. This initiative was put forth by President Macron, who, by the way, is personally hampering the work of Russian journalists in France.”
“The topics under discussion were serious, – said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, commenting on visit of UK Foreign Secretary to Moscow.
“Naturally, they included ways to bring the Russian-UK relations out of the dead end they have been driven to, not by Moscow,” she continued reflecting upon the issue to Rossiya-1 TV channel. “We are ready to begin to take efforts to get them out of it. It implies a range of bilateral problems, and, naturally, international problems, Sergey Lavrov spoke about today, which require involvement of the world’s leading players and, of course, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.”
According to Zakharova, discrepancies, which might be in place, are not an excuse to avoid developing of bilateral relations.
The UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss, along with bilateral issues, problems of the UN Security Council agenda.
Twitter’s decision to remove all advertising from the accounts of RT television channel and news agency Sputnik shows that the US authorities directly control the process of decision-making in this company, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
“We believe that this particular ban has demonstrated Twitter’s commercial unworthiness and absolute dependence on the likes and dislikes of the US establishment, which directly controls the process of decision-making in this company. That’s the way we see it,” Zakharova underlined.
“We are urging the users of all social networks to derive conclusions in this particular situation,” Zakharova said. “Today Twitter has outlawed the advertising of Russian mass media, including RT and Sputnik. Tomorrow it may follow volatile political preferences to declare as the United States’ enemies some mass media or businesses that cooperate with Twitter not only in our country, but also in any other country. At the same time, just as the RT channel, they may invest in advertising campaigns and some other joint projects only to get such image costs for their own money.”
Zakharova said that Russia interpreted that decision in the context of “continuing attempts by the US Administration to eliminate a source of alternative information some US political circles find unsuitable… the US authorities’ wish to see Russian mass media on the list of foreign agents,” she concluded.
Russia is within its rights to restrict the operations of U.S. media organizations 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.
The foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the full weight of the U.S. authorities was being brought to bear against RT’s operations in the United States, and that Moscow had the right to respond.
“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.”
The Trump administration threw its support unequivocally behind Ukraine Tuesday in that country’s ongoing conflict with Russia, informing the Kremlin that U.S. sanctions will remain in place until Russia ends its occupation of Crimea.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. does believe a better relationship with Moscow is possible, but not at the expense of the security of friends and allies in Europe.
“That is why the United States calls on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said. “That is why we continue to urge Russia to show a commitment to peace – by fully implementing the commitments under the Minsk agreements and ending its occupation of Crimea.”
Haley said the U.S. and European Union were in lockstep over keeping sanctions in place until the Minsk agreements – ceasefire deals negotiated between Ukraine’s government and Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east – were fully honored by Russia.
In addition, she said, “our separate Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.”