Sputnik editor arrested in Latvia over alleged EU sanctions violation

Marat Kasem, editor of Kremlin-backed outlet Sputnik Lithuania, was detained by Latvian intelligence services.

Latvia’s intelligence services arrested a Latvian national suspected of “providing economic resources to a Kremlin propaganda resource” under EU sanctions last Tuesday, the state’s Security Service announced in a statement on Thursday.

Baltic news outlet Delfi has identified the suspect as Marat Kasem, the editor-in-chief for the Lithuanian edition of Sputnik, the Kremlin-backed news website. He has been placed under detention.

Both Sputnik and Russia Today (also known as RT) have been banned from the European Union since last March after spreading disinformation about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The ban extends to all platforms and the two outlets’ content can no longer be accessed from inside the European Union.

“The person is employed at one of the information resources of the agency “Rossiya Segodnya” [Russia Today], which is under the Kremlin control and disseminates narratives in line with the Kremlin’s interests, including regularly discrediting Latvia and its allies,” the statement from the Latvian agency reads.

RT CEO Dmitry Kiselev told Russian state-run agency RIA that the arrest was “clearly political persecution, entirely unlawful, absurd, and unfounded.”