The UK government has taken steps to block the provision of services by UK operators to Russian clients, in addition to designating new media sector targets.
The UK Foreign Development and Commonwealth Office (‘FCDO’) said in a press alert on 4 May that the Foreign Secretary (Liz Truss) is to ‘cut off Russia’s access to the UK’s management consulting, accounting and PR services’ and that ‘further sanctions will also hit those behind Putin’s vicious disinformation campaign, including RT and Sputnik online.’
It said that the UK’s ban on services exports ‘will mean Russia’s businesses can no longer benefit from the UK’s world class accountancy, management consultancy, and PR services, which account for 10% of Russian imports in these sectors,’ and that, ‘Russia is heavily reliant on Western services companies for the production and export of manufactured goods, and today’s measures will further ratchet up economic pressure on Putin’s siege economy.’
The ban does not appear to extend to the provision of legal services and while the details of the EU’s sixth package of sanctions have yet to be announced, it is possible that there is significant overlap between the UK and EU restrictions.
Among the newly-sanctioned parties, it said, are ‘significant individuals at Channel One, a major state-owned outlet in Russia…known for spreading disinformation in Russia, justifying Putin’s illegal invasion as a “Special Military Operation”, amongst them, and a number of war correspondents, including, ‘Evgeny Poddubny, a war correspondent for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company; Alexander Kots, a war correspondent for Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, and Dmitry Steshin, a Russian journalist and special correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda.’
In the same release, the Foreign Office said that following the publication ‘of UK-funded research exposing the Kremlin’s shadowy troll factory tactics,’ it had designated 63 new targets hitting ‘actors and organisations from mainstream media organisations with asset freezes and travel bans.’