(Reuters) – Russian-backed separatists in a breakaway region of eastern Ukraine have blocked access to the search engine Google, their leader said on Friday, citing what he calls “disinformation”.
In a message posted on his Telegram channel, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), accused Google of promoting “violence against all Russians” and said that its “handlers from the US government” were to blame.
“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,” he said.
He did not provide evidence to support his assertions.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.
Russia banned Facebook and Instagram in March after a court found Facebook-owner Meta guilty of “extremist activity”. Moscow had already curbed access to Facebook for restricting Russian media outlets’ access to the platform.
The DPR and separate Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) followed suit in blocking Facebook and Instagram, aligning themselves with Russia’s policy on the US-based social networks.
(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
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