Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill allowing Russia to register international media outlets as foreign agents — a move largely seen as retaliation against the U.S. for similar crackdowns on Kremlin-funded media outlets, NBC News reported.
Putin signed the bill into law Saturday after the upper chamber of the Russian parliament adopted it Wednesday. The move is seen as a quid pro quo after U.S. officials demanded that state-media outlet Russia Today, or RT, register as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department.
In a statement posted to the embassy's Facebook page, officials accused the U.S. of deliberately hurting the U.S.-Russia relations: "We consider its demand as a wish to eliminate an alternative source of information, which is an unacceptable violation of the international norms of free press."
The DOJ's decision to force the network to register as a Russian agent comes amid increased scrutiny and new revelations about Russia's campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.