The Kremlin-funded Russia Today network is demanding an “official response” from the U.S. State Department to substantiate Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim Thursday night that the network is a “propaganda bullhorn” for Moscow.
In a terse statement during which he warned the U.S. was ready to impose further sanctions on Russia, Kerry accused Russia Today of being specifically “deployed” to Ukraine to “promote President Putin’s fantasy about what is playing out on the ground” in eastern Ukraine.
“They almost spend full time devoted to this effort to propagandize and to distort what is happening or not happening in Ukraine,” Kerry said. “Instead, in plain sight, Russia continues to fund, coordinate, and fuel a heavily armed separatist movement in Donetsk.”
Business Insider asked RT about Kerry’s remarks, and the network provided a statement saying it would be “seeking an official response from the U.S. Department of State substantiating Mr. Kerry’s claims.” The statement included a comment from RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan, who said Kerry should watch more of the network’s reports to learn about the situation on the ground.
“We are disappointed that Secretary Kerry seems to know so little about what is actually going on on the ground in eastern Ukraine in such a critical time, and invite him to watch more of our news reports,” Simonyan said. “RT shows the facts of what is and has been happening in Ukraine, from the very beginning, even if those facts are inconvenient to the Western political and media establishment, and therefore are disregarded by them despite abundant evidence.”
The State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it would be providing a response to the network.
RT’s coverage of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis has come under intense scrutiny from Western corners and even internally. Early last month, RT anchor Abby Martin grabbed headlines for speaking out against Russia’s intervention in the region of Crimea. The next day, anchor Liz Wahl quit her job at the station while on the air, saying she couldn’t be “part of a network that whitewashes” the actions of Putin.
The network’s coverage of the situation in Ukraine’s eastern region has also been decidedly pro-Moscow. On Thursday, it characterised Russia as being “forced” to conduct military drills along the Ukrainian border.
View RT’s full statement below.
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