The European Union has added Voice of Europe and two businessmen connected to the news website to an EU-wide sanctions list, extending sanctions imposed by the Czech Republic, its foreign ministry said on Monday.

The sanctions on the two individuals, Viktor Medvedchuk and Artem Marchevskyi, and the website will consist of travel bans and asset freezes, the ministry said.

In March, the Czech Republic sanctioned the Prague-based company, which runs the news website, alleging it was a tool of Russian propaganda.

It said the pro-Russian Ukrainian politician and businessman, Medvedchuk, who was exiled to Russia in 2022, had been covertly financing the Voice of Europe's influence operations ahead of this year's European parliamentary election, including financial support for European politicians.

Marchevskyi led the news website for Medvedchuk, it has said.

Voice of Europe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Czech media have reported Marchevskyi had been given temporary protection in Slovakia.

A spokesman for the Slovak interior ministry said the authorities decided on refugee protection based on the information from the police and security services but had no specific reaction to Monday's EU decision.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Alison Williams and Sriraj Kalluvila)