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Russian-Backed Separatist Region of East Ukraine Blocks Facebook, Instagram

By Asharq Al-Awsat
This file photo taken in Moscow on October 05, 2021, shows the US online social media and social networking service Facebook's logo on a smartphone screen. (AFP)

The Russian-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine said on Wednesday it had blocked access to Facebook and Instagram, aligning itself with Russia's policy on the US-based social networks.

Moscow recognized the DPR and a second region of eastern Ukraine - the Luhansk People's Republic - as independent on Feb. 21, and sent troops into Ukraine three days later, citing as one of its reasons the need to protect Russian-speakers there.

"Access to the information resources of the American company Meta, which allows calls for violence against Russian-speaking users on its social networks, has already been blocked," the DPR's communications ministry said in a statement.

"In light of this, access to the Facebook and Instagram social networks is blocked on the republic's territory."

Meta Platforms Inc did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russia banned Facebook and Instagram in March after a court found Meta guilty of "extremist activity". Moscow had already curbed access to Facebook for restricting Russian media outlets' access to the platform.

Russia's state communications regulator blocked access to Instagram in March after Meta said it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as "Death to the Russian invaders".

Meta said the temporary change in its hate speech policy applied only to Ukraine.

Russia has cultivated close ties with Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas, since supporting a pro-Russian insurgency following Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Both regions receive financial support from Moscow, use the Russian rouble as their currency and teach the Russian curriculum in their schools.

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Dive Deeper:
Russian-backed separatist regions of east Ukraine block Facebook, Instagram
The Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) in eastern Ukraine said on Wednesday they had blocked…
Putin refuses to waver on east Ukraine; Finland’s leaders endorse NATO bid
LVIV, Ukraine — As Finland’s leaders dealt him a blow by announcing their support for joining NATO, Russian President Vladimir…
Why did Russia invade Ukraine? The conflict explained
Vladimir Putin’s military assault continues in face of near-unanimous international condemnation
Why did Russia invade Ukraine? The conflict explained
Vladimir Putin’s military assault continues in face of near-unanimous international condemnation
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Why did Russia invade Ukraine? The conflict explained
Vladimir Putin’s military assault continues in face of near-unanimous international condemnation
Finland’s leaders endorse NATO bid; Russia issues threats and continues airstrikes on eastern Ukraine
LVIV, Ukraine — As Finland’s leaders dealt him a blow by announcing their support for joining NATO, Russian President Vladimir…
Get all your news in one place