The European Union will ban Russian media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday.
Saying that the EU will ban “Kremlin’s media machine,” von der Leyen added that “state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our union.”
“We are developing tools to ban the toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe,” von der Leyen said.
In the U.K., the Russia-backed RT channel is under review by media regulator Ofcom. The channel was suspended on Saturday in Australia by Foxtel.
The 27 nations in the EU will also close their airspace to Russian airlines. “We are shutting down the EU airspace for Russians,” von der Leyen said. “We are proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft. These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU.”
The EU is also planning to finance, purchase and deliver weapons to Ukraine.
In addition to Russia, the EU will also hit its ally Belarus, ruled by President Alexander Lukashenko, with sanctions. “We will target the other aggressor in this war, Lukashenko’s regime, with a new package of sanctions, hitting their most important sectors,” von der Leyen said.
The EU move comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on Sunday to order his country’s nuclear deterrent to be put on high alert.
Meanwhile, the office of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Ukraine and Russia would conduct negotiations at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
“I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as President, tried to stop the war, when there was even a small, but still a chance,” Zelensky said.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday.