Lithuania has suspended Russia's RT television from broadcasting in its territory because of RT's links with the head of the Russian state TV network, Dmitry Kiselyov, who is under international sanctions.
Mantas Martisius, the chairman of Lithuania’s Commission on Radio and Television, said on July 8 that five channels broadcast by RT in the Baltic country will be suspended as of July 9 after the decision is published online.
"These programs are being suspended not because of any violations but because a person associated with these programs has been included on the list of individuals under sanctions. And that is Mr. Kiselyov, who should not get benefits and therefore the transmission of the programs is being suspended," Martisius said.
The move follow a similar ban in another Baltic state, Latvia, which on June 30 halted the distribution of RT's seven channels in the country, citing the same reason.
Kiselyov, a TV commentator known for his anti-Western diatribes, is on the European Union's sanctions list for his role in promoting Kremlin propaganda in support of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Kiselyov is the head of the state Rossia Segodnya media group, which focuses mainly on Russian news and official propaganda abroad.
The group includes, RT, the channel that used to be known as Russia Today, as well as other channels, radio stations and websites, the Sputnik news service, the Prime news agency, and the Inosmi.ru media project.
Kiselyov's media group is among the top 10 state-subsidized groups in Russia. It received 20.4 billion rubles (more than $288 million) from the state from 2018 to 2020.