The Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has signaled a possible reduction in the number of American journalists working in Russia.
Talking about US-Russia relations on state TV Thursday, Antonov said Russia feels the growing pressure on its embassy and bilateral relations overall after its arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.
Antonov said he had a “very harsh” conversation with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, during which the State Department accused Moscow of unlawfully detaining Gershkovich.
“The Americans threatened us with retaliatory measures if we did not release Gershkovich in the near future. Let's see how they will act,” Antonov said in an interview with Russia’s Channel One. He added that this meeting had “no practical outcome.”
Antonov also noted that Russian journalists have faced unfavorable treatment in the US and pointed out that the number of American reporters working in Russia far exceeds the number of Russian reporters working in the US.
“Maybe it’s time for us to show reciprocity and reduce the number of American journalists who work in Moscow, Russia as a whole, to the number that works in Washington and New York?” he asked.
Some background: Gershkovich was last month detained by Russian authorities who accused him of spying, ratcheting up tensions between Russia and the US.
Gershkovich’s arrest marks the first time an American journalist has been detained on accusations by Moscow of spying since the Cold War, and the US State Department on Monday officially designated the Wall Street Journal reporter as wrongfully detained by Russia.