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Council of Europe is Concerned over Kiev's Decision to Block Russian Social Networks

17.05.2017 17:52

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland expressed concern over Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decree blocking Russian social networks and other internet resources on the country’s territory, a statement published on the Council’s official website reads.

"The blocking of social networks, search engines, mail services and news websites goes against our common understanding of freedom of expression and freedom of the media", – Thorbjorn Jagland stressed.

On Tuesday, Poroshenko signed an expanded blacklist consisting of 1228 Russian citizens and 468 companies. This blacklist includes a number of the Russian State Duma members, judges of the Russian Constitutional Court, journalists and TV channels. Furthermore, sanctions have been imposed on several Russian companies, such as 1C, ABBYY and their Ukrainian subsidiaries. In addition, Russia’s VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, Mail.ru and Yandex internet companies have been banned.

The banned Russian internet companies are popular in Ukraine. Yandex claims to have as many as 11,000,000 Ukrainian users while about 25,000,000 of Ukrainian citizens use the Mail.ru platforms for communication. A total of 16,000,000 people in Ukraine use the VKontakte social network, while the number of Odnoklassniki users totals around 9,500,000.