The stand of Russia's state-controlled RT broadcaster is seen at a forum in St. Petersburg (file photo)
Russia has announced that it will close the Moscow offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in retaliation for Ottawa's ban of Russian state media outlet RT.
Canada in March formally banned RT and RT France from its airwaves, saying their programming is "not consistent with Canadian broadcasting standards." RT has been accused of spreading propaganda and blocked in most Western countries since Russia's launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on May 18 announced the decision to close the CBC offices, underscoring that it is a retaliatory measure related to the actions of Canada. Visas and accreditation for the broadcaster's journalists also will be revoked, she said. Zakharova said Canada's ban on RT had been "Russophobic" and said the CBC had become "propaganda noise." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed decision, saying "responsible journalism -- sharing what's actually going on with citizens -- is a deep threat to Vladimir Putin." Trudeau added on Twitter that the move was "unacceptable" and that journalists must be "free from censorship, intimidation, and interference."
Canada has been a strong supporter of Ukraine in the conflict, and Trudeau was in Kyiv last week promising to send weapons and equipment to help it defeat the Russians. The Canadian Senate also is considering a bill that would ban Putin and around 1,000 members of his government and military from entering the country. CBC News Editor in Chief Brodie Fenlon said the public broadcaster was "deeply disappointed" by the decision, which it said "appears to be another step by Russia to stifle a free and independent press within its borders." Fenlon said in a statement that CBC's journalism "is completely independent of the Canadian government and we are saddened to see the Russian government conflate the two."