The Russian Ambassador has said that if Russian network RT is closed in the UK, his Government will take similar measures against the BBC in Russia.
The escalation of words comes after Ofcom found RT’s coverage of the Skripal affair breached its broadcasting rules on 21 December.
Seven of RT’s programmes were found in breach of Ofcom’s impartiality rules, demonstrating what the regulator considers to be a ‘serious failure of compliance’.
Ofcom is now considering how to sanction the channel. Punishments could range from a requirement to make corrections on air, to the full revocation of RT’s broadcast licence.
After the ruling was announced, Russia announced it would open its own investigation in the BBC’s activities in Russia.
The Russian ambassador’s comments are the latest in a series of hostile spats between Russian and British media.
On 27 December, the names of 44 BBC journalists and staff who work in Russia were published on social media platform, Vkontakte - a Russian site similar to Facebook.
The post condemned a recent article by The Sunday Times, that revealed the identities of eight Edinburgh-based Sputnik staff - a Moscow-funded news agency.
According to the Guardian, the list appears to have come from official documentation because the list only includes journalists registered with the Russian government. Also, the staff are identified by their legal names, which sometimes differ from their bylines.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC has strict editorial guidelines and has not published the details of journalists from other media organisations as there was no editorial reason or justification to do so. We are disappointed at the groundless publication of our Moscow team’s details.”
Most of the BBC staff who work in Russia are Russian citizens.