The Council of the EU said on March 2 that it was urgently suspending the broadcasting activities of Sputnik and RT/Russia Today in the EU, or directed at the EU.
It said that this was in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, and would remain in effect until the aggression towards Ukraine is put to an end, “and until the Russian Federation and its associated outlets cease to conduct disinformation and information manipulation actions against the EU and its member states”.
Sputnik and Russia Today are under the permanent direct or indirect control of the authorities of the Russian Federation and are essential and instrumental in bringing forward and supporting the military aggression against Ukraine, and for the destabilisation of its neighbouring countries, the Council of the EU said.
Russia had engaged in a systematic, international campaign of disinformation, information manipulation and distortion of facts in order to enhance its strategy of destabilisation of its neighbouring countries, the EU and its member states, it said.
“In particular, disinformation and information manipulation has repeatedly and consistently targeted European political parties, especially during the election periods, civil society and Russian gender and ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and the functioning of democratic institutions in the EU and its member states.”
On March 1, Bulgaria’s Council for Electronic Media joined regulators elsewhere in the EU in suspending transmissions of Kremlin mouthpieces Russia Today, Sputnik and their derivatives.
The Council of the EU said that the March 2 decisions complements the package of measures announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell after the video conference of EU foreign ministers on February 27.
That package also includes the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility, a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers of all kinds, a ban on the transactions with the Russian Central Bank, and the SWIFT ban for certain Russian banks.
“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, and demands that Russia immediately ceases its military actions, unconditionally withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders,” the Council of the EU said.
(Photo: Maurice Rodin/freeimages.com)
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