RT France assets frozen: Moscow promises retaliatory measures against French media in Russia

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Russia announces that it will take retaliatory measures against the French media on its soil, after the freezing of the bank accounts of its continuous news channel RT France. The channel no longer has the right to broadcast on European soil since the invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow promised on Saturday to take retaliatory measures against French media in Russia, after the bank accounts of RT France, the French branch of the Russian channel RT which is suspended in the EU, were frozen. “The freezing of RT France accounts will lead to retaliatory measures against French media in Russia. They will be remembered if the French authorities do not stop terrorizing Russian journalists,” warned a source within Russian diplomacy, quoted by Russian news agencies Ria Novosti and Tass.

Friday, the unions of RT France had denounced the freezing of the accounts of the chain in France. When questioned, the French Ministry of the Economy had specified that the assets of the chain had been frozen in application of the most recent European sanctions and not at the initiative of the French State.

“With this sanction, nearly 100 employees and around fifty journalists will probably fall into unemployment”, were moved in a press release by the FO (Force Ouvrière) and SNJ (Journalists’ Union) sections of RT France, according to whom the accounts “are frozen by decision of the French State”. A source at the ministry stressed that this measure stems from the “latest European sanctions package” of last December.

Unlike the initial sanctions decided after the Russian military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022, those taken in December provide for an “asset freeze” of the targeted entities, said this source. Among these entities is “ANO TV Novosti, parent company holding 100% RT France”, which therefore explains the freezing of “the assets of RT France”, continued the same source.

Accused of being instruments of “disinformation” by the Kremlin, the media Sputnik and RT (including its French-language version RT France) were banned from broadcasting in the EU from March 2, on television and on the Internet, at following an agreement of the Twenty-Seven shortly after the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Seized by RT France, European justice confirmed this decision in July. This initial sanctions package only banned the broadcast of RT’s content in the EU, not the production itself. Until now, RT France therefore continues to produce and broadcast content, which can be consulted despite the ban via a virtual private network (VPN), a service allowing you to browse the web by circumventing blocking. The French situation is particular because, since the suspension of RT in Germany at the end of 2021, France was the only EU Member State to host an RT subsidiary on its soil.