Russia sanctions dozens of UK journalists and media figures

Russia has banned dozens of UK journalists, including the heads of the BBC, Times and Guardian, from entering the country.

A statement published by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said those included on the 29-strong list were “involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information” about Russia and the war in Ukraine.

Another 20 figures who Moscow claim are linked to the defence industry were also sanctioned.

Among those on the list are BBC director-general Tim Davie, The Times’ editor John Witherow, The Guardian’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph Chris Evans, and BBC chairman Richard Sharp.

DCMS Committee on the work of the BBC
BBC chairman Richard Sharp and director-general Tim Davie are among those sanctioned (House of Commons/PA)

BBC journalists Nick Robinson, Orla Guerin and Clive Myrie, who have all reported from the ground in Ukraine and its capital of Kyiv during the conflict, also feature, as do correspondents from ITV News and Channel 4 News.

Russia said the journalists and media representatives named had contributed towards “fuelling Russophobia in British society”.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “We will continue to report independently and fairly.”

While a spokesperson for The Guardian said this is a “disappointing move” by the Russian government and a “bad day for press freedom”.

They added: “Trusted, accurate journalism is more important now than ever, and despite this decision we will continue to report robustly on Russia and on its invasion of Ukraine.”

Russia said those figures on the list who are connected to the UK defence industry had been involved in making decisions “on the supply of weapons to Ukraine, which are used by local punishers and Nazi formations to kill civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure”.

They included Britain’s navy chief and senior executives at defence and aerospace firms Thales UK and BAE Systems.

Moscow has seized on the far-right origins of one of the units in Ukraine, calling the Azov Regiment’s fighters “Nazis” and accusing, without evidence, their commander of committing atrocities during the war.

Last month, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced that Russian businesses were being cut off from the UK’s accountancy, management consultancy and PR sectors, as part of further sanctions against the country.