April 3, 2022

UK sanctions Russian propagandists, media outlets and sanctions evasion networks

On March 31, 2022, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced 14 new sanctions imposed upon Russian propagandists, Russia state media organizations and their affiliates for spreading lies and deceit related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions were issued pursuant to The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/855) and aimed at targeting Putin’s “propaganda machine” that routinely uses disinformation to obscure the truth of Putin’s unjust invasion.  All of the newly designated persons will be subject to asset freezes in the UK.
Among the new designees is Sergey Brilev, a prominent news anchor on Russia state-owned media outlet Rossiya who previously lived in the UK;  Kremlin funded TV-Novosti, the institution that owns RT, a network formerly known as Russia Today;  and Rossiya Segodnya, the media group that controls news agency Sputnik.  Seven of the designees are affiliated with the Strategic Culture Foundation, which was sanctioned by Australia on March 25, 2022 for their role in spreading disinformation.  In addition to the propagandists, the UK also designated Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the so-called ‘Butcher of Mariupol,” for directing reprehensible attacks against civilians in Syria in 2015-16 and now in Mariupol.  
These sanctions follow Ofcom’s March 18, 2022 decision to revoke RT’s license to broadcast in the UK following its launch of 29 investigations into the due impartiality of RT’s coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new sanctions are intended to prevent RT from returning to UK television and prevent companies and individuals in the UK from doing business with Russian propagandists.    

The UK also coordinated with the US to target Russian sanctions evasion networks, and, on March 31, 2022, designated three UK-based operators – Majory LLP, Photon Pro LLP and Djeco Group LP.  Two of the companies, Majory and Photon Pro, were among several sanctioned by the US on March 31, 2022 for facilitating the procurement of key equipment for the Russian government.

UK Foreign Secretary Press Release | OFSI Financial Sanctions Notice – Russia I | OFSI Financial Sanctions Notice – Russia II | Ofcom Decision  – March 18, 2022 | Australia Government Press Release – March 25, 2022