Faced with cascading removals of Russian Today channels from distribution services and platforms around the world in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, RT America, the U.S.-facing news/opinion channel backed with Russian-government funding, announced it will cease operations and lay off staff in coming weeks.

The decision impacts RT America (Russia Today) bureaus in New York, Washington, Miami and Los Angeles, and follows a string of censoring actions against regional RT channels and another Russian-government-funded channel Sputnik that have been operating around the world.

In recent days, RT America had been dropped by media companies including DirecTV, Roku and SES. YouTube also announced it was removing an RT streaming channel from its platforms in the EU and U.K.

In a letter distributed to RT America staff Thursday, Misha Solodovnikov, the general manager of T&R Productions, which produces RT America, said that “unforeseen business interruption events” had forced the decision.

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The lay offs were said to be permanent and expected to take effect on or around May 3, 2022.

The controversial RT channels that have aired around the world for years recently had come under attack by Western media corporations, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the leaders of European Union and the U.K. for presenting “Russian propaganda” under the sponsorship of the Russian government.

Members of the EU issued a statement this week saying: “The EU adopted sanctions against the Kremlin’s disinformation and information manipulation assets. State-owned outlets Russia Today and Sputnik are suspended across the EU, as of today.”

An RT channel in South Africa was also taken down following an intervention by that region’s communication’s regulatory agency, ICASA.

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By Greg Tarr

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