RT France, the French branch of the Russian channel Russia Today, announces its closure “after 5 years of relentlessness”

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RT France, the French branch of the Russian channel RT suspended in the European Union, announced this Saturday January 21 its “closure” the day after the freezing of its bank accounts.

The French branch of the Russian channel ended up giving in. “After 5 years of relentlessness, the authorities in power have therefore achieved their ends: the closure of RT France (…). The General Directorate of the Treasury has decided to freeze the bank accounts of RT France, making it impossible to continue our activity”, announced this Saturday on Twitter Xenia Fedorova, president and director of the chain.

Denouncing an “arbitrary measure”, she affirms that 123 French employees, including 77 holders of the press card, “risk today not being paid their salary for the month of January and will lose their jobs by the fact of the prince” .

Only branch of RT in the European Union

When questioned, the French Ministry of the Economy explained on Friday that the assets of the chain had been frozen in application of the most recent European sanctions and not at the direct initiative of the French State. 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. The French situation is particular because France was the only EU Member State to host an RT subsidiary on its soil.

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 continued to produce and broadcast content, which could be consulted despite the ban via a virtual private network (VPN), a service allowing you to browse the web by circumventing the blocking.

This Saturday, Moscow promised to take retaliatory measures against the 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 the Russian news agencies Ria Novosti and Tass.