Russia blocks dozens of independent media outlets

The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov [Getty Images]

The Kremlin has said it is blocking 81 European publications in retaliation for an EU ban on some Russian outlets.

Magazines, public broadcasters and newspapers from 25 out of 27 EU member states will become inaccessible inside Russia.

The Russian government said it was imposing "proportional countermeasures" to an EU decision to block Russian outlets Voice of Europe, RIA Novosti, Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta on 17 May. At the time Brussels accused the publications of "spreading and supporting Russian propaganda and war of aggression against Ukraine".

The list of blacklisted media includes Europe-wide outlets such as Politico and EU Observer, Ireland's public broadcaster RTE, France's Le Monde newspaper and Germany's Der Spiegel magazine.

Several Italian outlets, like public broadcaster Rai and newspaper La Repubblica, will also see their access restricted. Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the decision, saying that "it will not erase the effects of a violent, devastating and illegal war".

The US said the Russian government was "afraid of their own people hearing the truth".

European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said the ban was "nonsense retaliation," adding that "propaganda outlets funded by Russia to spread disinformation as part of Russia’s military doctrine are not the same as independent media".

Moscow said it would consider rescinding the ban if restrictions against Russian media outlets were lifted.

Russian state-backed news channel RT had its licence to broadcast in the EU revoked shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Around the same time, Russia restricted access to several Western websites, including the BBC, accusing them of spreading "false information".