The restrictions are meant to ensure that RT and Sputnik “will not be able to find [their] way back on UK televisions”
A new round of sanctions on Russia announced by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Thursday will target state funded TV-Novosti, which runs RT, and Rossiya Segodnya, which runs Sputnik News.
The sanctions were imposed against what London described as “Russian propagandists and state media who spread lies and deceit about Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
Earlier in March, UK media regulator Ofcom stripped broadcasting licenses from Russian media, claiming that they were in no position to cover the Ukraine crisis. RT said in a statement that the move proves that the regulator is not an independent body and is following the political goals of the government.
London made it clear that the intention of the new sanctions is to prevent British citizens from hearing Russian views about the events in Ukraine. They will “prevent companies and individuals operating in the UK from doing business with Russian state propaganda vehicles RT and Sputnik” and ensure that they “will not be able to find [their] way back on UK televisions,” it said in a statement.
A total of 14 new sanctions were imposed. Along with the state media outlets and a well-known TV host, the US government also targeted General Mikhail Mizintsev, a senior Russian military planner who the statement called “the butcher of Mariupol,” after the Ukrainian port city which has seen some of the most intense fighting.
The UK has been one of the most vocal supporters of Kiev in its stand-off with Russia, arming and training Ukrainian troops and pressuring non-Western nations to join the US-led effort to punish Moscow with sanctions and isolation.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.