UK media recently reported that the UK government has added a British video blogger based in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine to its Russia sanctions list, saying his content destabilizes Ukraine. Graham Phillips became the first British citizen to be individually sanctioned by the UK for his role in the Ukrainian conflict. According to a report by the Guardian:
July 26, 2022 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. […] 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.
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The UK sanctions list describes Phillips 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”. The Guardian report says that Graham Phillips previously worked for the UK government Central Office of Information and in moved full-time to Ukraine in 2014, where he reinvented himself as a journalist. The report also says he claims his work is self-funded and that he regularly solicits donations from his 325,000 YouTube subscribers. A recent report by the Centre for Information Resilience, a UK think tank, says Phillips “appears to “receive funds through primarily US-owned crowdfunding platforms, in apparent defiance of US sanctions.”Although Phillips has been personally placed under UK sanctions as of July 26, his PayPal account appears to be still accessible to donors.
The Global Influence Operations Report has extensively reported on Western video bloggers spreading Russian propaganda, identifying former US naval intelligence officer Patrick Lancaster and Canadian activist Eva Barlett as among the most influential propagandists.