Ukraine blocks Russia’s top social media networks


KIEV: Ukraine on Tuesday blocked Russia’s most popular social media networks and an internet search engine in response to the Kremlin’s alleged backing of a three-year separatist war in the east. The decision sparked an immediate outcry from Ukrainian internet users and freedom of speech advocates. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s decision “another manifestation of unfriendly,” short-sighted policy toward Russia.” Some critics in Kiev further pointed to the irony of Poroshenko himself being an avid user of two of the Russian networks he had banned. The pro-Western Ukrainian leader promised to quickly close his Russian accounts and defended the latest round of sanctions against Kiev’s sworn foe as an “adequate response” to the Kremlin’s “hybrid warfare” using the internet. The presidential decree bars access to VK —often referred to as Russia’s Facebook and formerly known as VKontakte —and Ukraine’s version of the popular Yandex search engine.



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