UK imposes 14 new sanctions on Russian ‘propagandists’, state media
London: The UK government announced on Thursday 14 new sanctions on Russian propagandists and state media, who it said spread lies and deceit about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “illegal invasion” of Ukraine.
The latest sanctions list includes Sergey Brilev, described as a famous TV anchor on Russia state-owned media Rossiya and propagandist for Putin. Having previously lived in the UK, Brilev will no longer be able to access any of his UK assets or continue business dealings.
The UK is also directly sanctioning state media organisations, targeting the Kremlin funded TV-Novosti who own RT, formerly Russia Today, and Rossiya Segodnya who control news agency Sputnik.
“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,” said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is in India on Thursday for talks.
“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,” she said.
Following UK media watchdog Ofcom’s revocation of RT’s broadcasting licence recently, the latest set of sanctions are aimed at ensuring the channel 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.
The UK government said “disinformation is part of the Kremlin playbook and is used by Putin’s regime to obscure the truth of his unjust invasion”.
“Putin’s propaganda machine has been working overdrive to spread misinformation and distract from his barbaric actions in Ukraine,” said UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
“These sanctions will target those who are complicit in covering up the Russian state’s actions. We will not hesitate to act further against individuals and organisations attempting to deceive people about this misguided war,” she said.
Other so-called “propagandists” sanctioned in the latest tranche include Aleksandr Zharov, Chief Executive Officer of Gazprom-Media and former Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), Alexey Nikolov, Managing Director of RT, and Anton Anisimov, Head of Sputnik International Broadcasting.
Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, dubbed “the butcher of Mariupol”, is also on the list as the Chief of the National Defence Command and Control Centre, where all Russian military operations are planned and controlled worldwide. Mizintsev is known for using reprehensible tactics, including shelling civilian centres in both Aleppo in 2015-16 and now in Mariupol – where atrocities are being perpetuated against Ukrainian people, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.
The UK said it has also fast-tracked sanctions against another seven individuals connected to the Strategic Culture Foundation – who were recently sanctioned by Australia for their role in spreading disinformation. The UK is operating closely with allies to target Russia’s oligarchs, banks and businesses.
The sanctions involve asset freezes and travel bans on those named under the action. Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began on February 24, the UK said it has sanctioned banks with 500 billion pounds of global asset value and more than 150 billion pounds of net worth from Russian oligarchs and their family members. New legislation passed just this week also prohibits maintenance on aircraft or ships belonging to specific sanctioned Russian oligarchs or their businesses.