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Banning of some Russian media, Putin's ally: EU is hypocritical

Banning of some Russian media, Putin's ally: EU is hypocritical

Russia's Parliament Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin criticized the European Union on Saturday for banning the broadcast and circulation of material from four Russian media outlets, saying it shows how the West refuses to accept any alternative point of view and is destroys freedom of expression. The European Union said on Friday it was suspending distribution of materials from the Voice of Europe news agency, Ria Novosti and the newspapers Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, on the grounds that they were "fundamental and instrumental in advancing and supporting Russia's war in Ukraine", launched in February 2022.

Russia has said such a decision would result in a tough response against Western media in Moscow, but has not yet indicated which media organizations would be affected.

"The leadership of the European Union can talk about freedom of expression, but in fact it does not tolerate it," said Volodin, who is also a member of the Security Council of Russia.

"They block any alternative point of view, destroy freedom of expression and violate the right to freely receive information."

Western leaders portray Russia as an autocracy and the state that poses the greatest threat to world order, and accuse Moscow of seeking to undermine Western democracies. According to them, Russia's war in Ukraine shows that Moscow can start a war against any member country of the North Atlantic Alliance, NATO. Russia, on the other hand, claims that the West is engaged in hybrid warfare against Russia, which includes sophisticated propaganda warfare aimed at destroying Russia's reputation.

Since the start of the war, several Russian journalists have fled their country and several key independent media outlets have been closed. The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, warned last week that if the EU bans the media "we will respond with the speed of light and hit the Westerners in the heart". The Union of Journalists in Russia has called the EU's ban "illegal" and said that the court would have to decide on this issue./ REL

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