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Ukrainian service providers move to block Russian websites

Ukrainian service providers including leading telco Ukrtelecom and cable operator Volia have notified their subscribers that they will begin blocking access to a large number of Russian web resources in accordance with a controversial decree of President Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko announced the ban on a number of Russian sites including Mail.ru, social networks VK and Odnoklassniki, and search engine Yandex, last week.

The move is part of a wave of measures instituted by the Ukrainian government against Russia, including sanctions against individuals and companies and bans on Russian TV channels.

Volia said it would being restricting access to the named sites from today, with work to be compelted by June 1. It wanrned subscribers with Russian domain email addresses to change their email services to Ukrainian and international ones, and save information on the two social network elsewhere.

The Russian government, which itself maintains an extensive blacklist of websites, has condemned the move, as well as pointing out that Ukrainian citizens will able to circumvent it through the use of VPNs.

Yandex complies with Russian data rules and was criticized for failing to provide access to news stories about anti-government protests earlier this year. Popular social network VK is now owned by Mail.ru, after founder Pavel Durov claimed he was forced to go into exile in 2014.