EU targets RT in latest sanctions
RT’s Balkan branch has been added to the list of EU-sanctioned entities in the bloc’s latest package of restrictions against Russia released on Friday.
The EU ban was expanded to include five additional media outlets. The European Council described the move as opposing “concerted propaganda actions targeted at civil society in the EU and neighboring countries.”
The English-language RT International and its sister channels broadcasting in other languages were already banned by the EU under restrictions imposed since the beginning of Russia’s military operation in February 2022.
Moscow considers the restrictions a violation of media freedom and evidence that the EU’s commitment to freedom of speech is not genuine. Even before the Ukraine conflict, member states such as Germany had attempted to limit the activities of some Russian media.
The online version of RT Balkan, which reports news in the Serbian language and is focused on regional affairs, was launched in November 2022. The outlet includes a dedicated website and an array of social media accounts, with plans pending for a live television broadcast. YouTube, the Google-owned video hosting service, banned the outlet a month after it was launched.
Ahead of the EU’s latest round of sanctions against Russian, senior officials in Brussels acknowledged that they had almost run out of economic sectors to target. Many of the measures included in the 11th package are aimed at preventing possible sanctions avoidance.
A ban will also enter force on the transportation of Russian crude oil through the northern section of the Druzhba pipeline, although third parties, namely Kazakhstan, can still use the transit route.