WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) —
U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki fired off a tweet Thursday, accusing "the Russian propaganda machine" of falsely reporting her firing.
Using the hashtag #dontbelieveRT, Psaki accused Russia Television of propagating the rumor and insisted "I am still here as is a strong, democratic Ukraine."
Despite the Russian propaganda machine suggesting otherwise..I am still here as is a strong, democratic Ukraine #dontbelieveRTÃ¢ € ” Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) June 6, 2014
Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, tweeted back to Psaki that she "is under the illusion that RT is scheming all around her" and asserted "We did not write of your firing!," adding "If you in fact had been fired, we couldn’t write — we would weep!"
RT also penned an article pleading "not guilty" in propagating the rumor, and instead blamed a "blog-like, independent media that have nothing to do with the Russian government — let alone RT."
Several Russian newspapers, including tabloid Komomolskaya Pravda, reported that Psaki had been fired on Thursday.
The rumor was the latest in a series of Russian media attacks aimed at Psaki. Dmitry Kiselyov, appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to head the state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, promoted the term "Psaking" during a Sunday night television appearance. He defined it as a "new buzzword" used "when someone makes a dogmatic statement about something they don’t understand, mixes facts up, and then doesn’t apologize."
The State Department told BuzzFeed that the latest jibes are "yet another in a long line of desperate attacks to counter efforts by U.S. officials to speak the truth about Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its ongoing involvement in eastern Ukraine."