MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States' demand to list the RT broadcaster as a foreign agent is ultimately a crackdown on media and "shameful," given that Washington has been promoting freedom of the press for centuries, Russia's former ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak said on Tuesday.
"And that is something unprecedented and the reason for it is absolutely unclear. For a country like the US that has been promoting freedom of the press for its whole life and existence, it is shameful," the senator added on the sidelines of the Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi.
The former ambassador, who now serves as a member of the upper house of Russian parliament, suggested that the RT broadcaster faced pressure in the United States because it provided alternative coverage of global events.
Russia has repeatedly called on the US to stop the "bullying" campaign against Kislyak, adding that he regularily met US officials as it was his duty at the time he was the Russian envoy to the country.
The official's statement comes amid significant pressure on RT in the United States, most recently in the form of a request to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by October 17.
RT Editor-In-Chief Margarita Simonyan noted that broadcaster never experienced this kind of pressure in any other country. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already warned that Moscow may have to respond in kind to Washington's pressure on Russian media.
The broadcaster also fell under the accusations made by Western officials about allegedly spreading fake news and attempting to influence public opinion, especially following the US presidential election in 2016. According to the US intelligence community, the broadcaster was involved in the Kremlin's alleged attempts to sway the elections. Russia has repeatedly denied these claims over the lack of sufficient evidence.