MOSCOW–Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland has voiced concern over Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decree blocking Russian social networks and other internet resources on the country’s territory, a statement published on the Council’s website said.
The “Council of Europe Secretary General has voiced his concern about a decree by Ukrainian President Poroshenko on the blocking of several major online services and social networks on the territory of Ukraine,” the statement reads.
According to Jagland, the “blocking of social networks, search engines, mail services and news websites goes against our common understanding of freedom of expression and freedom of the media.” “Moreover, such blanket bans are out of line with the principle of proportionality,” he added.
On Tuesday, Poroshenko signed an expanded blacklist consisting of 1,228 Russian individuals and 468 companies. This time, a number of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) members, judges of the Russian Constitutional Court, journalists and TV channels have been added to the blacklist. Besides, sanctions have been imposed on several Russian companies, including 1C, ABBYY and their Ukrainian subsidiaries. In addition, Russia’s VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, Mail.ru and Yandex internet companies have been banned.
The banned Russian internet companies have a significantly large audience in Ukraine. Yandex claims to have as many as 11,000,000 Ukrainian users while about 25,000,000 of Ukrainian citizens use the Mail.ru platforms for communication. A total of 16,000,000 people in Ukraine use the Vkontakte social network, while the number of Odnoklassniki users totals around 9,500,000.