Access to Kremlin mouthpiece portal blocked according to EU sanctions rules

The University of Latvia’s Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, in charge of domain registry in Latvia, has blocked access to baltnews.lv web portal after receiving a Foreign Ministry notice over following EU sanction rules.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs’ (New Unity) spokesman Mārtiņš Drēģeris told LETA that on July 23 the ministry sent the institute a letter indicating that Rossiya Segodnya news agency, which is the officially registered owner of the Latvia-registered portal baltnews.lv, is headed by Dmitry Kiselyov, who is on the EU’s list of sanctioned persons.

In its letter, the Foreign Ministry refers to EU documents adopted in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and armed intervention in eastern Ukraine. The EU adopted these documents to impose restrictive measures for actions undermining or threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.

The EU has included Kiselyov on the list of persons sanctioned for undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. The head of Rossiya Segodnya has been described by the EU as “one of the central figures of government propaganda supporting the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine.”

The Foreign Ministry says in the letter that in line with the Latvian sanctions law, the EU’s regulations on sanctions are binding to Latvia. Domain name baltnews.lv is a commercial resource whose holder is a legal entity targeted by EU sanctions, Drēģeris said.

As early as 2017, the Re:Baltica investigative journalism group reported that the Baltnews websites across the Baltics are run by the Russian state via a simple corporate dodge. 

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