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Moscow vows retaliation over new US moves against RT and Sputnik

October 26, 19:44 UTC+3

Maria Zakharova believes that this is an "unprecedented American attack on media"

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Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 26./TASS/. Moscow sees the decision to off-board advertising from all Twitter accounts owned by RT (Russian English-language television channel broadcasting around the world) and the news agency Sputnik as an aggressive move taken under the pressure from US intelligence agencies and will retaliate to restrictions against Russian media, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We see this as a next aggressive move aimed at blocking the activity of Russia Today (RT) and coming as a result of pressure from a faction in the US establishment and intelligence agencies," the diplomat said, adding that retaliatory moves will follow.

She said that preventing the activity of Russian media outlets, also "carried out with the use of intelligence services’ arsenals, testifies to a blatant violation by the US of international as well as domestic legislative acts, guaranteeing the freedom of speech". "Private corporations’ joining this campaign testifies to an unprecedented attack by American security agencies on media," Zakharova added.

The online news and social networking service Twitter, the owner of the same-name microblog service, has made a decision to remove advertising from all accounts of the RT, a Russian English-language television channel broadcasting around the world, including the United States, and the news agency Sputnik. The decision is effective immediately, Twitter said.

"Twitter has made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, effective immediately," the statement said on Thursday.

Twitter explains this decision is based on what it describes as "retrospective work" it has been doing "around the 2016 U.S. election and the U.S. intelligence community’s claims" that "both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government."

"We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter," the company argued.

Early this year, the U.S. intelligence community named the RT and Sputnik as "implementing state-sponsored Russian efforts to interfere with and disrupt the 2016 presidential election." This decision does not apply to any other advertisers. RT and Sputnik may remain "organic users on our platform," in accordance with the Twitter rules, the statement ran.

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