British journalist Graham Phillips has been sanctioned by his own government for his on-the-ground reporting in Ukraine, which the UK government says is "propaganda" that serves to "destabilize Ukraine" and "undermine" its "territorial integrity."
A British citizen who video blogs pro-Kremlin material from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine has been added to a UK government sanctions list.
Graham Phillips, who has been accused of being a conduit for pro-Russian propaganda, is one of 42 new designations added to the UK’s Russia sanctions list. Other additions include Russia’s minister and deputy minister of justice and two nephews of the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who was himself placed under sanctions by Britain in March.
Phillips – the first UK citizen to be added to the growing sanctions list – has long been a controversial figure, receiving medals from the Russian state for his reporting. He has consistently toed the Russian line on the war, suggesting in recent weeks that Ukraine is run by Nazis and that the massacre of Ukrainians in Bucha was staged.
In April Phillips drew condemnation from Boris Johnson and others when he interviewed Aiden Aslin, a British member of the Ukrainian armed forces who had been captured by Russian forces during the siege of Mariupol. Aslin is facing the death penalty.
[...] Phillips – who faces a freeze of his assets – is described on the sanctions list as “a video blogger who has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine”.
Commenting on the newly sanctioned individuals, the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said: “We will not keep quiet and watch Kremlin-appointed state actors suppress the people of Ukraine or the freedoms of their own people. We will continue to impose harsh sanctions on those who are trying to legitimise Putin’s illegal invasion until Ukraine prevails.”
Johnson described Phillips’ interview with Aslin as a “propaganda message” for Russia. Aslin’s local MP, Robert Jenrick, said Phillips’ video showed his constituent “handcuffed, physically injured and being interviewed under duress for propaganda purposes”.
Jenrick said the video was a breach of the Geneva conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and that “the interviewer Graham Phillips is in danger of prosecution for war crimes”.
[...] Phillips says his work is self-funded and regularly solicits donations from his 264,000 YouTube subscribers. He also earns money from YouTube adverts paid for by big western companies. YouTube has so far declined to take down Phillips’ videos, despite calls from politicians to remove the channel.