Ukraine war: Pro-Russian separatists claim they blocked Google in Donbas
Ukraine war: Since sending troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine have accused Western companies of spreading anti-Russian propaganda and taking a one-sided stance on the conflict.
The pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine's Donbas claimed they have blocked search engine giant Google, accusing it of promoting violence against Russians, Reuters reported.
"We took the decision to block Google on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic," rebel leader Denis Pushilin said on Telegram, accusing it of promoting violence against Russians, in particular the people of the Donbas.
"If Google stops pursuing its criminal policy and returns to the mainstream of law, morality and common sense, there will be no obstacles to its work," the pro-Russian leader said. The search engine giant did not respond to Reuter's request for a comment.
On March 24, a month after its forces invaded Ukraine, Russia had restricted access to Google News service, accusing it of spreading false news about Ukraine conflict, AFP had reported.
In early March, Russia's information technology and communication watchdog Roskomnadzor had accused Google and its video platform YouTube of indulging in ‘terrorist activities’, signalling that it could be blocked.
Russia banned Facebook and Instagram in March after a court found Facebook-owner Meta guilty of "extremist activity".
The DPR and separate Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) followed suit in blocking Facebook and Instagram, aligning themselves with Russia's policy on the U.S.-based social networks.
The war in Ukraine is set to complete five months on Sunday, with intermittent fighting between the two countries raging on. In Kharkiv, three people were killed while 23 were injured after a school was hit by a Russian strike, AP reported.
Moscow has reiterated that it plans to seize territories beyond eastern Ukraine, where its military has spent months trying to conquer Donbas, the agency reported.
“Russian strikes on schools and hospitals are very painful and reflect its true goal of reducing peaceful cities to ruins,” Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said in televised remarks, repeating his call on residents to evacuate.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, however, said that the Russian strike had killed over 300 Ukrainian troops who used the building of School No. 23 in Kramatorsk as their base.
(With Reuters, AP inputs)