The EU introduced further restrictive measures in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, according to a press statement on Wednesday.
“By virtue of these measures, the EU will urgently suspend the broadcasting activities of Sputnik and Russia Today (RT English, RT UK, RT Germany, RT France, and RT Spanish) in the EU — or directed at the EU — until the aggression on Ukraine is put to an end and until the Russian Federation and its associated outlets cease to spread disinformation… against the EU and its member states,” said the statement.
The statement added that 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 Russian Federation has 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 and the EU and its member states.”
“In particular, disinformation and information manipulation has repeatedly and consistently targeted European political parties, especially during election periods; civil society; Russian gender and ethnic minorities; asylum seekers; and the functioning of democratic institutions in the EU and its member states,” the statement read.
Today’s decision complements the package of measures announced by the high representative after the video conference of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 27 February.
The package also includes the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility, a ban on Russian aircrafts flying over EU airspace or accessing EU airports, a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank, and a SWIFT ban on certain Russian banks, the statement noted.
“The EU 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 statement pointed out.