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'We Respond With Words': Russia Will Not Revoke NYT, FT's Accreditation Over False COVID-19 Reports

© Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Ministry
Russian Foreign Ministry - Sputnik International
The Russian Foreign Ministry has declined a request by a Federal Assembly commission to revoke accreditation for the New York Times and Financial Times newspapers following a slew of false reporting on the country's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Commission on the Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs formed by the State Duma asked the Foreign Ministry to take action against the Manhattan-based New York Times and London-based Financial Times following what commission head Vasilii Piskarev described as "simultaneously published articles on allegedly inconsistent official statistics on coronavirus mortality in Russia with real statistics."

The measures requested potentially included depriving the two papers of their accreditation; instead, the ministry will send letters to the editors-in-chief of both publications formally asking them to retract their stories' claims.

"Revoking accreditation, expulsion of journalists or any other repressive measures are not our methods," ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. "We always respond, first of all, with a word. In a word, backed up by deeds, specific steps."

Zakharova noted that further measures against the publications depended on whether or not they publicly retracted the articles' claims.

The twin stories published on May 11 claimed Moscow had underreported the country's death toll from COVID-19 by as much as 70%. 

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