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Ukraine to Block Russian Social Media in Sweeping Sanctions


Ukraine will block several top Russian websites, including VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, social networks with broad popularity across the former Soviet Union.

On May 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed an order imposing new sanctions on Russia for three years, the Meduza news site reported. Among the entities facing restrictions under the sanctions is the Group, a major Russian internet company that owns VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.

Both sites have millions of users in Ukraine, and VKontakte maintains a server in the country. Last year, VKontakte boasted 53 percent of Ukraine's daily internet audience, while Odnoklassniki commanded 34 percent, internet researcher Kirill Mikhailov wrote on Twitter.

The order will also require Ukrainian internet providers to block all services of the Yandex internet company, besides its search engine, and the anti-virus companies Kaspersky Lab and DrWeb.

Ukraine also will impose asset freezes and broadcast bans on Russian television channels TV Tsentr, RBK, VGTRK, NTV-Plus, Zvezda, TNT, REN and ORT, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported. Additionally, it will block the Rossiya Segodnya Russian state media conglomerate, the RIA Novosti news site, a branch of the conglomerate, reported.

The order also blacklists the Aeroflot and Transaero airlines, the Rossiya and Gazprombank banks and the defense companies Russian Helicopters and Rosoboroneksport.

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