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War in Ukraine: UK sanctions blogger for his videos

The British government has sanctioned a British blogger for content he claims is “destabilizing” Ukraine, according to the British Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

Blogger Graham Phillips was added to Britain’s sanctions list on Monday, according to the Foreign Office. He is the only British national sanctioned in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to public records.

Philips appealed the decision, describing it as “absolutely absurd, dangerous, ridiculous”.

The UK Foreign Office says Philips’ work constitutes “media content which supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilize Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine. “.

In a video posted to YouTube April 19, Phillips’ questions captured British national Aiden Aslin, who had fought with Ukrainian forces in Mariupol. On camera, Aslin says he is not speaking under duress but is handcuffed during the video.

YouTube removed the video. As of this writing, parent company Google has not provided a statement to CNN regarding the removal of the video.

On April 20, British MP Robert Jenrick, who represents the Aslin constituency in the UK, criticized the video in Parliament as a “flagrant breach of the Geneva conventions”.

“Treating a POW in this way is illegal and interviewer Graham Phillips risks being prosecuted for war crimes. And that any online platform, such as YouTube, that hosts such propaganda videos should remove them immediately,” he said. said.

In the video, Phillips refers to Aslin as a “mercenary” rather than a POW.

In response, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of Aslin: “I understand that he had served in the Ukrainian forces for some time and that his situation was very different from that of a mercenary”.

Phillips previously worked as a contributor for state broadcaster RT in Ukraine and his videos typically feature a pro-Russian view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He called the sanctions “Kafka-esque” on Telegram on July 26.

“It’s quite Kafkaesque in that I had no chance to defend myself against the charges against me that led to the sanction,” he said.

“But there are no real charges against me that led to the punishment, so nothing to defend me,” he added. “Just that the UK government doesn’t like my job.”

On Wednesday, Phillips said the sanctions led authorities to “seize all my bank accounts without any legal process”, he said on Telegram.

Later Wednesday, Phillips said on Telegram that he had appealed the UK government’s decision.

“So, after a day with a lawyer, I have now filed a formal 4-page appeal against the absolutely absurd, dangerous and ridiculous decision of the British government to sanction me. And tomorrow, go back to work here in Donbass, as from habit. , since 2014,” he said.

As of this writing, Phillips has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

In a statement released by the British Foreign Office on June 11 following Aslin’s capture by Russian forces in Ukraine, Aslin’s family confirmed that he had served as a contract marine with the 36th Brigade. Ukrainian Armed Forces. The statement adds that he has been a Ukrainian resident for four years.

After his capture, Russian-backed authorities in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic sentenced Aslin to death for having fought as a “mercenary”, alongside another Briton and a Moroccan citizen.

CNN has contacted authorities in the Luhansk People’s Republic for an update on Aslin’s status. As of this writing, CNN has not had a response.

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