Ukraine sent a letter to the Council of Europe detailing its official position on the blocking of Russian Internet sites and the introduction of economic sanctions against companies from the Russian Federation.
According to the Evropeiska Pravda publication, the European Council posted a notice about the receipt of this document from Ukraine on its web site dedicated to the safety of journalists.
“The aggression of the Russian Federation and the problems that Ukraine faces require appropriate measures. Such resources as Yandex, Mail.ru, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki have long been used by Russian special services as tools in the so-called hybrid war,” the letter from the Ukrainian government reads.
The document notes that Russian intelligence agencies use private mail and other confidential information from users of Russian Internet resources to manipulate public opinion by means of misinformation, propaganda and information attacks.
The Council also notes that based on the statistics provided by SimilarWeb, 17.55% of unique visits to the VKontakte site and 15.15% to the Odnoklassniki site were from Ukraine.
Over the past six months, Yandex.ua, the search service and e-mail client and the fifth largest site in Ukraine, has had 215 million visits. Statistics also show that more than 50% of Ukrainians use VKontakte.
“A number of human rights organizations called the ban a disproportionate measure restricting access to information. However, Ukrainian officials defended this step as protection of national security because this country [Ukraine] is a victim of misinformation, agitation campaigns and cyber-attacks using personal data of Ukrainian users, stored on Russian social networks,” the message said.
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko signed a decree that provides for the blocking of access to Russian social networks. The document, which prescribes the blocking of these resources by Ukrainian Internet providers, came into force on May 17.