Russia warns US not to take action against its media outlets

Russia is warning the U.S. not to take action against its government-backed media outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, threatening retaliation, CNN reports. 

"When it comes down to a fight with no rules, when the law is twisted and turned into an instrument for the destruction of a TV company, every step against a Russian media outlet will be met with a corresponding response," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday.

"And whom this response will be aimed at, that is what Washington needs to figure out as well," she added. "The clock is ticking." 

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Zakharova did not how Russia would retaliate to protect its media outlets.

The spokeswoman has previously threatened that Russia would take "reciprocal measures" against the U.S. if it did not return Russian diplomatic facilities seized last year. 

The Justice Department sent a letter earlier this month demanding the company that runs state-funded television network RT — formerly Russia Today — to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), treating its content as propaganda.

Federal investigators have looked into RT as part of their probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

An intelligence report in January accused the outlet of conducting "strategic messaging for [the] Russian government," fuel political conflicts in the U.S. 

Popular social media sites Twitter and Facebook have also provided congressional intelligence committees with evidence of Russian-linked groups using their platforms to influence the election.