Not a single British media outlet will be working in Russia if London decides to shut down RT broadcasting in the UK, Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said. “I can tell you right now that not a single British media outlet will be working in our country if they shut RT down,” Zakharova told Rossiya 1 channel.
Britain’s media regulator Ofcom said on Tuesday that it may “consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licenses” if it is determined that there was “an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK” in the poisoning of double agent Sergey Skripal in Salisbury last week.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May gave Moscow one day to explain the alleged use of a military-grade nerve agent, which the UK claims came from Russia to poison Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Despite providing no proof, May said it is “highly likely” that Moscow was responsible.
During her House of Commons appearance, Labour MP Chris Bryan asked Theresa May: “Can we just stop Russia Today [RT] broadcasting its propaganda in this country?” The PM responded by saying she would update the parliament on “further measures” later this week.
The threat of banning RT led to a backlash on Twitter, with RT contributors, viewers and members of the public speaking out against the proposal, which some decried as an attack on “freedom of speech.”
As for the whole affair with Skripal’s poisoning, “it’s a massive international provocation, with the lives of people being at its center. Nobody knows what’s happened to them,” Zakharova said.
She reminded that none of the other similar cases, which involved prominent Russian figures like another double agent Alexander Litvinenko or oligarch Boris Berezovsky dying on the UK soil, ended “in any kind of truth or answers on at least some of the questions, asked by everyone – the investigation, the public or the Russian side. ”
Each time it started with “an insane media campaign,” but afterward everything was classified and court rulings followed, which “nobody saw and knows of,” the spokeswoman added.
“Nobody knows anything about the poison… including Theresa May, who has no real facts on her hands,” Zakharova said. “Everything that we are being told by the TV and the media, when they say that there’s Russian propaganda and so on – this is typical British propaganda, which is firing from almost all of its weapons now.”
According to the spokeswoman, Russia “remains in the legal field” and is ready to cooperate with the UK on resolving the Skripal issue. “If the official London opted against staging this circus show and instead acted within the framework of, perhaps, a very rigid scheme – there’s every opportunity to do it in a legal way…The relevant agencies should’ve started bilateral consultations and address the Russian side on the issues they are interested in, as well as provide all the information they have about the incident,” she said.
If the UK follows through with its threats to impose sanctions against Moscow over Skripal’s poisoning, “every relevant Russian agency will decide how to react,” Zakharova said.