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No restrictions for foreign journalists at Putin's press conference — Kremlin spokesman

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a record number of 1,702 journalists were accredited to Russian President Vladimir Putin's press conference

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has noted the openness of the upcoming press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We do not impose any restrictions, and the president does not single out any particular countries. I want to remind you that our channels, like RT, often face misunderstanding <...> and our colleagues have no opportunity to work at events held at the Elysee Palace. We don't have anything like this as all foreign journalists have been accredited in Russia. They have been accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry and will be present here [at the press conference] tomorrow," Peskov told Channel One.

"We traditionally ask our Foreign Ministry to assist in providing a easier access to entry visas for those foreign journalists who do not work here on a permanent basis," Peskov noted. Among accredited journalists are representatives of Asia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Europe, he said adding that "the range is very wide, and there is, of course, great interest."

The Kremlin spokesman also emphasized that representatives of Ukrainian media will be allowed at all events without any restrictions. "This is in contrast to our journalists in Ukraine who would maybe want to continue working there but were unfortunately forced to leave Ukraine," he added.

Russia will not restrict access to the president's events for any media, including the BBC, Peskov stressed. "Of course, there is no differentiation, and they cannot be. I repeat once again that we are guided by the law on media that guarantees same access to the authorities, to all events for all accredited media," Peskov said in response to a question on whether BBC journalists were accredited for the press conference of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The fact that the Kremlin "considers it possible to create such comfortable conditions for work even for those media that cannot be described as objective" represents a reason for pride, the Kremlin spokesman noted. At the same time, he warned against generalizing. "Many talented and devoted journalists work in BBC and Western media," he said.

Peskov said that a record number of journalists - 1,702 - was accredited to the press conference this time. "We register heightened interest among federal, regional and international media," he noted.

"We were forced to deny accreditation to several people for security reasons. Unfortunately, this can heppen for people with different health conditions, people with a criminal record," the Kremlin spokesman said adding that "there are special rules since we are talking about a press conference of the head of state."

"Overall, though, 99.9% of journalists who requested accreditation, got it," Peskov stressed.

The Kremlin spokesman said he is ready to argue forever to prove that there is freedom of speech in Russia. "If somebody tries to dispute the fact that there is freedom of speech in Russia, I am ready to argue with them forever," Peskov told Rossiya-24 TV channel.

Multiple information sources in the country serve as evidence of freedom of speech in Russia, he noted. At the same time, Peskov refused to assess the level of this freedom. "One cannot be a little pregnant, and one cannot have a little freedom of speech - it is either there or not," he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov thinks that the West benefits from demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin even though he is very popular among ordinary people across the world.

"They [Western countries] benefit from demonizing Russians, presenting them as omnipotent, and so on," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman that there is a very fine line between demonizing someone and glorifying them. "We know that Russia and Putin are rather popular in some countries," Peskov said. "We are talking about popularity not among the people in power, but among ordinary citizens. It is truly an indisputable fact, and all of us encountered during our working trips the manifestations of people's love for Putin. This is not a secret," he added.