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‘Surprise!’ Russian Foreign Ministry Says 10 U.S. Media Could Face State Duma Ban

Nikerichev Andrei / Moskva News Agency

Russia could bar access to Russia’s lower house of parliament for up to ten American media outlets, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Monday.

The statement comes after a U.S. association of journalists who report on Congress voted to revoke the press credentials of the Kremlin-funded RT news channel. Earlier, RT, formerly known as Russia Today, was required to register as a “foreign agent,” setting off plans to take a similar measure against U.S. media in Moscow.

Russian media reported on Monday that the Justice Ministry could begin listing international media outlets as "foreign agents" as early as this week.

Zakharova did not specify which specific media outlets would be banned, out of the 23 U.S. media outlets which are currently accredited by Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“I think it will also be up to the State Duma to decide who to give access,” she was cited as saying by the Vedomosti business daily. “As far as we understand, this concerns at least nine to ten American media outlets. Let it be a surprise which ones.”

Zakharova added that only “mirror measures” would be taken. “We did not begin this theater of the absurd, this post-absurdist time, we can only respond,” she said.

U.S. journalists will not be stripped of their accreditation, she added.

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