Kremlin-backed media evading EU sanctions, report finds

Russian state media, including Russia Today and Sputnik, are evading EU sanctions by using various tactics like proxy sites, social media channels, and user-generated content to continue reaching audiences in Europe. Despite efforts by Twitter to label and block content, accounts like Radio Sputnik remain accessible. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have also faced challenges in enforcing the sanctions, allowing for the continued dissemination of Kremlin-backed media content. The report found that these media outlets have adapted swiftly, making enforcement difficult and resulting in increased global traffic for them.

Russian state media, particularly Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, have found various ways to circumvent social media bans and continue to spread their content and reach audiences across the EU, according to the not-yet-public findings of the Disinformation Situation Center (DSC).

Twitter has been the most effective at identifying, labelling, and blocking the accounts and material onf Retweets of postings were not visible in Europe, and previews of the site’s material were not shown inside tweets. However, within the EU, the accounts of Radio Sputnik and SNA and Sputnik’s German division were still accessible, while RT DE used links to a proxy site that hosted their content. 

Links to RT proxy sites, RT material hosted on other social media channels, and visual content bearing RT logos uploaded by users were not identified or removed by Facebook. Similarly, Instagram and YouTube have blocked the official accounts of, but users can post direct links to and from the RT DE and Sputnik sites.

The report identified other loopholes in the enforcement of the sanctions, including the use of VPNs. The report concludes that RT ‘had made changes that placed them multiple steps ahead of regulators’. RT’s international website remains accessible and shows a 50% increase in global traffic compared to pre-war levels.