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Russian lawmakers urge London to clarify situation with RT bank accounts

Earlier in the day, Maria Zakharova commented on the UK’s move by saying that after Brexit "London has left all its obligations on freedom of speech in Europe"

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Russian parliamentarians will turn to London for explanations on why the bank accounts of the RT television company have been blocked, Sergey Zheleznyak, Member of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said on Monday.

"We will demand explanations from the official British authorities in connection with this situation. We will help the Russia Today team fight for their legal rights. We will also demand that international organizations - the Council of Europe, the UN as well as international human rights and the journalism community - specify their stance," Zheleznyak stressed.

He noted that that an inquiry will be made on behalf of the United Russia faction expressing confidence that other lawmakers would support him.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the UK’s move by saying that, after withdrawing from the EU, "London has left all its obligations on freedom of speech in Europe."

"Margarita Simonyan noted that all bank accounts of Russia Today television in Britain had been blocked, all of its bank accounts, this is the final decision, which cannot be reviewed. Looks like when London left the EU, it left all of its commitments to freedom of speech in Europe. As they say, a new life without bad habits," Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

RT’s Editor-in-Chief, Margarita Simonyan, earlier tweeted that the TV network’s bank accounts in the United Kingdom had been blocked.

Simonyan also told the Rossiya 24 TV channel that British authorities had no sufficient grounds to block the broadcaster’s bank accounts, as its work and funding are transparent, and there had been no complaints against it in the past. "They did not explain the reasons, and I believe they will not be able to do so, because there can be no reasons. We had absolutely transparent work there and transparent financing. There were no complaints against us whatsoever in this respect," she explained.

Russia Today was founded in 2005. It launched round-the-clock broadcasts from Moscow in English on December 10, 2005. The project was initiated by Mikhail Lesin, who at that time served as a Russian presidential aide. Margarita Simonyan has been RT’s Editor-in-Chief since its founding.