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British RT host Nikki Aaron goes on the defensive over Putin's invasion of Ukraine

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A British RT host has today gone on the defensive over Vladimir’s Putin invasion of Ukraine, accusing western media of pumping out ‘hysterical headlines’, while trumpeting Kremlin statements about ‘military assistance’ of pro-Russian separatists.

Nikki Aaron, a presenter on the state-controlled TV channel, said Britons and Americans would be ‘waking up to sensational headlines’ about Russia’s decision to send troops into Ukraine – a move which has been widely condemned across the world.

The Emmy-award nominated journalist made the comments this morning while presenting live from her channel’s Moscow studio while the ticker ‘Operation Donbass’ displayed on the screen.

She also regurgitated Kremlin lines claiming the invasion was a ‘military operation’ launched by Putin after a call for ‘military assistance’ by pro-Russian separatist in the Donbass region.

It comes as Scottish politician Alex Salmond today remained silent over his presenting job at the Russian state-funded broadcaster.

Today the channel broadcast the latest edition of the Alex Salmond show, featuring the former SNP chief interviewing ex Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable about a possible co-coalition with the Labour party.

Last night current SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was ‘appalled’ by Salmond continuing to host his show on RT. 

It comes as Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries yesterday told media watchdog Ofcom to review RT, saying the channel ‘is demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign’ during the Ukraine crisis. 

Nikki Aaron, a presenter on the state-controlled TV channel, said Britons and Americans would be'waking up to sensational headlines' about Russia's decision to send troops into Ukraine - a move which has been widely condemned across the world

Nikki Aaron, a presenter on the state-controlled TV channel, said Britons and Americans would be ‘waking up to sensational headlines’ about Russia’s decision to send troops into Ukraine – a move which has been widely condemned across the world

The Emmy-award nominated journalist made the comments this morning while presenting live from her channel's Moscow studio while the ticker'Operation Donbass' displayed on the screen

The Emmy-award nominated journalist made the comments this morning while presenting live from her channel’s Moscow studio while the ticker ‘Operation Donbass’ displayed on the screen

Ms Aaron also spouted Kremlin lines claiming the invasion was a'military operation' launched by Putin after a call for'military assistance' by pro-Russian separatist in the Donbass region

Ms Aaron also spouted Kremlin lines claiming the invasion was a ‘military operation’ launched by Putin after a call for ‘military assistance’ by pro-Russian separatist in the Donbass region

Nikki Aaron: The glamorous Emmy-award nominated journalist trumpeting Kremlin lines on Russia’s state-backed TV show

Nikki Aaron is one of the faces of Russian state-backed TV station RT International

Nikki Aaron is one of the faces of Russian state-backed TV station RT International

Nikki Aaron is one of the faces of Russian state-backed TV station RT International.

Based in Moscrow, the Emmy-nominated journalist, boasts previous experience at the BBC and ITV on her Linkedin profile.

She is said to have left the UK, with a degree from the University of Leicester, to relocate to communist China in 2007, where she launched a fashion and lifestyle magazine in Bejing.

Aaron, who, according to her public Instagram page, lives in Moscow with her husband and two children, moved to China’s state backed CNC outlet to work on their World News team. 

While there she was awarded several Golden Eagle Awards for excellence in television production. 

In late 2015, she relocated to Moscow to join the RT team at the Moscow HQ, where she now appears as a regular news anchor and reporter on the flagship world news programme. 

In late 2015, she relocated to Moscow to join the RT team at the Moscow HQ, where she now appears as a regular news anchor and reporter on the flagship world news programme

In late 2015, she relocated to Moscow to join the RT team at the Moscow HQ, where she now appears as a regular news anchor and reporter on the flagship world news programme

In 2019, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in presenting RT’s coverage of the 2018 tragic shopping mall fire in Siberia’s Kemerovo, which claimed the lives of 64 people, many of them children. 

On her website she describes herself as ‘a well-trusted and capable host, guiding audiences through some of the most significant events in recent years, from marathon coverage of the Brexit referendum to the 2016 US Presidential election, and picking up several awards along the way for her role in presenting coverage of the 2017 German election and Catalonia protests’. 

According to her website she is studying a Masters Degree in International Relations and World Order at the University of Leicester. 

 

Ofcom said it has ‘already stepped up our oversight of coverage’ of the crisis by broadcasters in the UK.  

Today, as Russian tanks crossed into Ukraine and bombs and artillery rained down in a number of regions, Ms Aaron shared several Kremlin lines with RT viewers.

With the ticker describing it as ‘Operation Donbass’, Ms Aaron said: ‘President Vladimir Putin has announced a military operation in Donbass during an address to the nation. 

‘This comes after the people’s republic of Donbass turned to Russia for military assistance.

‘The president said there would be no occupation of Ukrainian terirory.’

She later said: ‘The Russian defence ministry has denied all claims of rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities. 

‘A ministry spokesperson said there were no threats to the civilian population in Ukraine as high precision weapons are incapacitating military infrastructure including air defence facilities.

‘The ministry says there is no fight back from the Ukrainian border guard and air defence and air base infrastructure has been neutralised. 

‘Russia also denies reports one of its military has been shot down.

As she was joined by a guest speaker, Ms Aaron went on to attack western media, who she said would be spreading ‘hysterical headlines’.

She said: ‘Of course we woke up to this at 6am in Moscow, an ungodly hour, most people won’t be awake. 

‘People are waking up to it now and of course the UK being three hours behind, also waking up, the US it is still the middle of the night, so they are going to be waking up to these hysterical headlines, sensational headlines about what is going on, with the situation in Ukraine.’

It comes as RT, which is funded by the federal tax budget of the Russian government, today shared its latest edition of the Alex Salmond show.

The former SNP First Minister of Scotland, who now heads up the pro-independence Alba party, spoke with Vince Cable about paperback version of his new book Money and Power. 

The pair, who did not speak about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, discussed the possibility of a Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition. 

The show was broadcast on RT today just hours after current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was ‘appalled’ that her predecessor Alex Salmond was continuing to host his show on the Russian state-backed channel. 

Ms Sturgeon said it was ‘unthinkable’ Mr Salmond’s show should continue, urging him to ‘reflect’ on matters.

Mr Salmond has always insisted he has total editorial control, while yesterday RT chiefs described her comment as ‘inappropriate’.

Meanwhile, Mr Cable today defended his decision to go on the show, saying that the interview was recorded yesterday and that it was not related to Ukraine.

He told MailOnline: ‘(The interview) was about the paperback version of my book Money and Power and my earlier novel and had nothing to do with events in Ukraine.

‘It was part of a round of interviews with various outlets on the book. 

‘My views on Russia were clearly set out when I was party leader during the debate on the Skripal murders. 

‘In response to the invasion I fully support the NATO sanctions package package and agree with Ed Davey and Layla Moran that at the UK response has been too wreak so far.’

He added: ‘RT’s political coverage is clearly slanted to give a pro-Russian position. But it is free to broadcast under UK regulated broadcasting.’

The show was broadcast on RT today just hours after current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was'appalled' that her predecessor Alex Salmond (pictured) was continuing to host his show on the Russian state-backed channel

The show was broadcast on RT today just hours after current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was ‘appalled’ that her predecessor Alex Salmond (pictured) was continuing to host his show on the Russian state-backed channel

Mr Cable today defended his decision to go on the show, saying that the interview was recorded yesterday and that it was not related to Ukraine

Mr Cable today defended his decision to go on the show, saying that the interview was recorded yesterday and that it was not related to Ukraine

Pictured: Nadine Dorries wrote to the broadcast regulator over the Kremlin-backed channel Russia Today, raising concern the channel may spread propaganda during the Ukraine crisis

Pictured: Nadine Dorries wrote to the broadcast regulator over the Kremlin-backed channel Russia Today, raising concern the channel may spread propaganda during the Ukraine crisis

The Russian state-backed channel facing a possible Ofcom review: What is Russia Today (RT)? 

Russia today, better known as RT, is a Russian state-backed news channel, based in the UK. 

Launched in 2014, it is funded by the federal tax budget of the Russian government.

The UK media regulator, Ofcom, has repeatedly found RT to have breached its rules on impartiality and on one occasion found it had broadcast ‘materially misleading’ content. 

In September 2015, Ofcom found RT in breach of the impartiality rules in its coverage of the events in Ukraine and Syria.

In December 2018, Ofcom ruled that seven programmes broadcast by RT between 17 March and 26 April of that year, in the wake of the Salisbury poisonings, had breached the UK’s impartiality rules.

RT said it was ‘extremely disappointed by Ofcom’s conclusions’, but it was fined £200,000.

It closed for TV broadcasting on 30 July 2021. But it still runs live streams via its English-speaking website.

Nadine Dorries yesterday ordered Ofcom to take ‘timely and transparent’ action against Russia Today amid growing concerns it is spreading propaganda during the Ukraine crisis.

The Culture Secretary wrote to the broadcast regulator to raise concerns that the Kremlin-backed outfit could ‘look to spread harmful disinformation’ in the UK.

It comes as Nadine Dorries yesterday ordered Ofcom to take ‘timely and transparent’ action against Russia Today amid growing concerns it is spreading propaganda during the Ukraine crisis.

The Culture Secretary wrote to the broadcast regulator to raise concerns that the Kremlin-backed outfit could ‘look to spread harmful disinformation’ in the UK.

But Boris Johnson rejected calls for an outright ban, saying it should be up to Ofcom to ban media organisations rather than politicians.

And RT responded provocatively last night, saying that the BBC should also be subject to a review by Ofcom over its ‘state sponsorship’.

In a letter to Melanie Dawes, the chief executive of Ofcom, Miss Dorries said the Russian government was conducting an ‘aggressive’ disinformation campaign.

Ofcom is an independent body that has the power to fine RT or even revoke its licence to broadcast in the UK.

It has previously fined the broadcaster £200,000 for breaching impartiality rules over the 2018 Salisbury novichok poisoning.

Miss Dorries said RT was ‘demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign’ and said certain states sought to ‘exploit and undermine’ the UK’s media landscape.

She pointed to its editor-in-chief, who has previously referred to the broadcaster as an ‘information weapon’ that can be deployed against the West. She said it was essential that the UK looked to limit Russia’s ability to spread propaganda.

She added that while she respected Ofcom’s independence, it was essential that it kept RT under review.

But in the Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister rejected a call from Labour leader Keir Starmer for an outright ban on RT.

He said: ‘We live in a democracy, Mr Speaker, and we live in a country that believes in free speech and I think it’s important that we should leave it up to Ofcom rather than to politicians to decide which media organisations to ban. That’s what Russia does.’

Sir Keir told the Commons that Vladimir Putin’s ‘campaign of misinformation’ should be tackled.

RT’s coverage of Ukraine has been from a pro-Russian perspective, with reports of celebrations in Luhansk and Donetsk after President Putin sent in tanks.

Ofcom said: ‘All licensees must observe Ofcom’s rules, including due accuracy and due impartiality.

‘If broadcasters break those rules, we will not hesitate to step in. Given the seriousness of the Ukraine crisis, we will examine complaints about any broadcaster’s news coverage of this issue as a priority.’

It is understood that the regulator has no plans to expel RT and it has had fewer than 50 complaints about its Ukraine output. 

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