Russia blocks access to BBC and Facebook as Putin invades Ukraine. World News

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Russia seems to have blocked the access to Facebook in Russia and to the BBC in the country, amid fears that Vladimir Putin may be preventing people from viewing Western coverage of Ukraine’s invasion.

Russia seems to have blocked access the BBC and Facebook, as President Vladimir Putin restricts public viewing of Western media.

After the invasion of Ukraine, Russia was placed under strict sanctions. These have had an impact on every aspect of the economy as well as the daily lives of citizens.

The Russian state seems to have reacted by blocking Facebook as well as the BBC. However, this has not been confirmed.

BBC Russia stated that there have been reports of Russian users having difficulty accessing their website, but the Kremlin did not say if it had banned access.

BBC Russia stated that the domain https://bbc.com was not added to the list of banned sites. However, Deutsche Welle, a German public broadcaster, reported in Russian that the BBC website was not functioning in Russia.

A tweet by BBC Russian translated into English and posted in Russian by BBC Russian, Meta (formerly Facebook) appears to have been blocked in the country.

This series of tweets said: “Block tracking services report that there are problems accessing the BBC Russian Service website in Russia.

“Roskomnadzor does not list https://bbc.com as a banned site.”

Also apparently blocked are the Russian- and English-language online newspaper and news aggregator Meduza, the US government-funded broadcaster Radio Liberty and Google Play.

Roskomnadzor is the Kremlin’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media which maintains a official mandatory list of sites banned in Russia.

It comes after the Kremlin accused the BBC of playing a “Russian security and stability was undermined by a determined role”.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned the banning of Russian media RT and Sputnik, claiming the world was being deprived of Russia’s point of view and Western media was only giving one side.

Her comments came hours after calls from UK Government figures to ban the Kremlin-backed state broadcaster.

According to a translation from RT, Ms Zakharova said the only reason Russian journalists could still work in the UK was “Related to London fears that the (the) BBC could be targeted in Russia, because it plays an important role in undermining Russian stability and security”.

She said: “That statement by Liz Truss, British Foreign Secretary, is the source of the idea.”

Responding to her comments, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “You may recall that the PM spoke before about the importance a free press and the fact it is important that the BBC remains editorially independent so that they can continue to do the outstanding work that they do.”

It comes as UK watchdog Ofcom opened 27 investigations into the “Due impartiality” of programmes broadcast on RT news channel, formerly known as Russia Today.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said RT should lose its licence and “Never again” be able to broadcast “poisonous propaganda”.

Meanwhile, Truss warned on Monday that the BBC risked being banned in Russia if RT was shut down in the UK.

She said a “Be careful” was required as retaliatory action against the BBC would harm efforts to ensure Russians “Hear the truth” about the invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia tweeted: “Zakharova

“What is happening now in the information landscape is actually depriving Russia of any opportunity to convey its point of view.”

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the BBC has witnessed a significant increase in Russian language usage. According to the corporation, the average weekly audience for the Russian language news website of the BBC has more than tripled in the past year.

Russia has imposed sanctions on goods, so international companies will stop supplying them. This includes Apple who have stopped selling all of its physical products, from iPhones to Macbooks.

Apple also restricts access to digital services, such as Apple Pay in Russia. Additionally, media outlets such Russia Today or Sputnik News are no longer available from the App Store.

At the same time Google has said it has blocked RT and Sputnik from its Play store while Twitter, Facebook’s owner Meta and YouTube have said they have blocked the channels within Europe.

We reached out to BBC and Facebook for comments.

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