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EU Bans Work of Sputnik News Sites, Broadcasting of RT TV Channel in the Community From 2 March

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICRT app is seen on a smartphone in front of RT and Sputnik logo in this illustration taken February 28, 2022
RT app is seen on a smartphone in front of RT and Sputnik logo in this illustration taken February 28, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.03.2022
Earlier on Wednesday, Google reportedly blocked apps connected to Sputnik and RT from the Play app store across Europe amid a Russian special operation to demilitarise and "de-Nazify" Ukraine.
The EU has banned the work of Sputnik news websites and the broadcasting of the RT TV channel in the bloc as of 2 March.
"Today, we are taking an important step against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's manipulation operation [in Ukraine] and turning off the tap for Russian state-controlled media in the EU", the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell claimed in a statement on Wednesday.
The ban comes as the Rossiya Segodnya media group, which includes the Sputnik news agency, said that Google News and Google Discover have restricted access to the group's resources online, calling the move a case of "censorship".
This followed Sputnik- and RT-related apps reportedly being banned by Google from the Play app store across Europe, shortly after the company stated that they are blocking YouTube channels "connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately".
Wednesday’s developments were preceded by Instagram and Meta, formerly known as Facebook, restricted access to Sputnik and RT across the EU.

Late last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU is seeking to ban state-run Russian media outlets, including Sputnik, RT, and their subsidiaries, as part of new sanctions slapped on Russia by the bloc along with the US and its Western allies amid Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine.

The sanctions include closing their airspace to all Russian flights and slapping restrictions on a number of Russian banks and officials. In response, Russia сlosed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, with President Vladimir Putin ordering the “application of special economic measures" against the US and its allies.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has since accused Google and Meta of conducting "hostile propaganda activities" against "Russian sources of information", while the country's media watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded that Meta remove the block on RT and Sputnik's Facebook and Instagram accounts in Europe. The watchdog pointed out that the American companies "deliberately restrict access to Russian information [sources] so that users can see a one-sided picture of the Russian special operation".
The operation, announced by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February and aimed at demilitarising and "de-Nazifying" Ukraine, followed a request for assistance by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), which have seen weeks of intensified shelling by the Ukrainian Army.
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