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Russia Blocks Access to BBC, Vows More Media Retaliation

Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0)

Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor on Wednesday blocked access to the BBC's main news website, with Moscow's Foreign Ministry warning of more retaliatory measures against the media. 

"I think this is only the beginning of retaliatory measures to the information war unleashed by the West against Russia," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram. 

Roskomnadzor listed the BBC News website as blocked in Russia.

The website of the BBC's Russian service was also blocked. 

The service posted a video instructing Russians how to keep accessing the media via a VPN and on apps. 

"We continue to show the events on Russia and the world," it said in the video. 

It called on its readers to download the BBC app and follow the news site on social media platforms.  

Roskomnadzor also blocked access to at least 31 other media websites Wednesday, in a crackdown online that sharply escalated after President Vladimir Putin sent in troops to Ukraine. 

AFP was unable to access more than 30 Russian and foreign-based media from inside the country.

These included award-winning investigation website Bellingcat and several Russian regional websites like Permdaily.ru

Their websites were listed as blocked by Roskomnadzor.

Two Russian-language media based in Israel, where there is a large Russian-speaking community, were blocked: the 9 TV Channel Israel and Vesti Israel.

Kavkazki Uzel, an independent media website covering the Russian North Caucasus, was also inaccessible, as were media websites based in Ukraine and Estonia.

Russia has restricted access to an increasing amount of independent media since it launched its Ukraine military campaign, and has blocked access to global tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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