UK Sanctions Russian TV Figures in Bid to Crack Down on ‘Kremlin Disinformation’

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The UK has imposed new sanctions on a number of Russian “propagandists” and media organisations for spreading “lies and deceit” about the war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin-backed TV-Novosti, which controls the RT news channel, and the state-owned Rossiya Segodnya, which is responsible for the Sputnik news agency, were among 14 new entries added to the UK’s sanctions list on March 31.

Sergey Brilev, a presenter on the Rossiya channel, RT’s managing director Alexey Nikolov, Sputnik’s editor-in-chief Anton Anisimov, and the chief executive of Gazprom-Media Aleksandr Zharov were also sanctioned.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war on Ukraine is based on a torrent of lies. Britain has helped lead the world in exposing Kremlin disinformation, and this latest batch of sanctions hits the shameless propagandists who push out Putin’s fake news and narratives.

“We will keep on going with more sanctions to ramp up the pressure on Russia and ensure Putin loses in Ukraine. Nothing and no one is off the table.”

Britain’s broadcast regulator Ofcom revoked the UK licence of the Kremlin-backed RT TV channel on March 18, citing new laws in Russia that “effectively criminalise any independent journalism that departs from the Russian state’s own news narrative,” which made it impossible for RT to comply with the due impartiality rules in the UK’s broadcasting code.

The Foreign Office said the new sanctions “will ensure RT will not be able to find its way back on UK televisions, and will prevent companies and individuals operating in the UK from doing business with Russian state propaganda vehicles RT and Sputnik, and key figures in those organisations.”

Downing Street said the latest sanctions were a sign that “we want to continue to further ratchet up the pressure” on Putin’s regime.

The UK has also fast-tracked sanctions against another seven individuals connected to the Strategic Culture Foundation—an online journal accused of spreading disinformation—who were recently sanctioned by Australia.

One of the newly announced sanctions was for a Russian military commander linked to the devastation in the port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.

Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, dubbed “the butcher of Mariupol,” is the chief of the national defence command and control centre, where Russian military operations are planned.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Zhang

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