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YouTube Blocked in Ukraine's Russian-Occupied Kherson

Kherson, south Ukraine. AP photo / TASS

Russian-installed authorities claim to have blocked access to YouTube and Instagram in southern Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region.

“We shut down YouTube a few days ago,” Sergei Moroz, a video blogger and spokesperson for the local occupation administration, said in a video message posted on Telegram Wednesday.

“We’re now without YouTube or Instagram. But it’s OK, we get by alright,” Moroz said. He also admitted that locals could use VPNs to circumvent censorship.

The same clip also appeared on a YouTube channel bearing Moroz’s name alongside his previous vlogs. 

The announcement confirms Ukrainian reports earlier this week that YouTube had been blocked in the region alongside messaging app Viber.

Kherson’s Moscow-installed authorities said last month they also planned to block Instagram and Facebook, which have been banned in Russia as “extremist.” 

The Kremlin has so far stopped short of blacklisting YouTube in Russia, despite accusing the video-hosting platform and its parent company Google of censorship and “terrorism.”

Kherson, a key land bridge connecting mainland Russia to annexed Crimea, was the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces since the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow in February.

Occupying forces have since replaced local internet and mobile providers with Russian services as part of Moscow’s so-called Russification campaign. 

The drive also involves introducing the Russian ruble into circulation, opening Russian banks, and giving out Russian passports in occupied Ukrainian territories.

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