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Russia blocks Radio France Internationale, Moscow Times websites

Russia has blocked access to the websites of Radio France Internationaleand the Russian-language service of The Moscow Times, the communications regulator said, in the latest restrictions on media since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Moscow Times, whose English-language website was unaffected, said in a statement the move was due to a story about the conflict in Ukraine. RFI, which broadcasts in 16 languages including Russian, said it had not been provided with an explanation.

Russia’s communications watchdog did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Moscow Times said Russian internet providers had started to block its Russian-language site after a notice from the communications watchdog.

The newspaper, which has covered Russia for three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, said on its English-language website that its Russian service was blocked after it published what “authorities call a false report on riot police officers refusing to fight in Ukraine”.

The April 4 article was still on the newspaper’s Russian website on Friday.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Russia has placed restrictions on reporting on the conflict. Moscow says Western media have provided an excessively partial narrative of the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces. Reuters

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