MOSCOW, March 14 Russia accused the United
States on Friday of unacceptable discrimination against Russian
journalists by barring them from a news conference given by
President Barack Obama and Ukraine's prime minister.
The Russian Foreign Ministry portrayed Washington as
trampling on media freedoms in a harshly worded statement which
mirrored Western criticism of the Russian state media's coverage
of the crisis over Ukraine's Crimea region.
"We consider the refusal to allow Russian journalists to
attend the press conference on March 12 by U.S. President B.
Obama and the head of the current Ukrainian 'government', A.
Yatseniuk, to be unacceptable and discriminatory," the statement
by ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
"It seems that in Washington, where they so love to talk
about freedom of speech and journalists' rights, they are not
ready to follow these principles themselves, preferring to deal
only with 'approved' media propagating the 'required'
Lukashevich did not give any details or proof of the
allegations that Russian journalists had been barred from the
He said the U.S. authorities had not wanted to face "awkward
questions that are not part of the pre-written script",
including about the "crimes" of Dmytro Yarosh, a far-right
leader who had an influential role in the protests that brought
down Ukraine's Moscow-backed president, Viktor Yanukovich.
Obama met Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk to show support
for Ukraine in its standoff with Russia over Crimea, which has
been taken over by Russian forces and votes in a referendum on
Sunday on whether to join the Russian Federation.