VELIKI NOVGOROD, October 18. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has offered her comment to the mass media concerning the row over a British bank’s reconsidered intention to close the accounts of Russian television broadcaster Russia Today in Britain.
"We never leave friends behind," she said in reply to a question in an online news conference by participants in the national television contest TEFI-Region, underway in Veliki Novgorod.
"Our stance is unambiguous - we never leave friends in the lurch. Tit-for-tat retaliation is always due," Zakharova said. "Apparently, it takes reaching a certain point to react and to show the other side a mirror image of its own actions. To let them feel in a similar situation. It works well. But this is not our choice."
According to earlier reports, Moscow in response to punitive measures by the NatWest Bank (an affiliate of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group) towards the Russia Today television news channel promised to take retaliatory steps against the BBC and start litigations over freedom of speech violations. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has reportedly overturned the original decision.
The RT was told its accounts were frozen on October 17, 2016. Britain’s Ministry of Finance said that the freeze was not sanctions against Russia but the bank’s own initiative and decision.
The TV channel’s press service meanwhile says RT as not yet received any explanations on why its accounts were frozen.
"The news about the freezing of accounts sparked outrage from RT’s audience and NatWest’s clients as well as British public figures. A representative for the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said answering an request by RT that "we are assessing the situation and will contact our client to discuss the matter. The bank accounts are still open and operative." The bank has given no other explanation so far," the RT source said.