A source in banking circles later said that the UK Treasury had placed Rossiya Segodnya News Agency Director General Dmitry Kiselev on the list of persons targeted by financial sanctions, a move that could have triggered the closure of the agency's accounts. A spokesman for the bank refused to officially give a reasons for the move.
"This development is all the more regrettable in the current political context… what happened can only be regarded as an attempt at censorship, the desire to block the work of the media which is giving a platform to alternative points of view to the local official line," Yakovenko stressed.
Yakovlenko said that closing the bank accounts without any explanation "cannot, but arouse our concern."
"We are raising this issue with our contacts in the Foreign Office. It is important to know what the reasons for such arbitrary actions are, from where an order or pressure is coming from", the ambassador said.
Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya, said that the closure was illegal since the agency had not been the subject of any sanctions, even if Kiselev had been banned from having personal accounts in UK banks.
Kiselev himselft strongly criticized the British authorities' move, labeling it censorship and direct interference with the work of journalists.