LONDON: Russia on Friday blocked access to the Google search engine in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, after pro-Russian authorities there accused the US tech giant of promoting “terrorism and violence against all Russians.”
“The inhuman propaganda of Ukraine and the West has long crossed all boundaries. There is a real persecution of Russians, the imposition of lies and disinformation,” said Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, in a post published on Telegram.
Pushilin accused Google of trying to destabilize the region by promoting disinformation, saying that it “openly, on the orders of its curators from the US government, promotes terrorism and violence against all Russians, and especially the population of Donbas.”
Google is not the first tech company to be accused of propaganda and to have its services blocked in Ukraine.
Popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, both owned by Meta, were banned earlier this year in Russian-occupied regions in eastern Ukraine for similar reasons.
“This is what they do in any society with criminals: they are isolated from other people. If Google stops pursuing its criminal policy and returns to the mainstream of law, morality and common sense, there will be no obstacles for its work,” Pushilin added in the message.
The ban comes just a few days after Google was fined $387 million by Russian authorities for failing to remove content about the Ukraine war that Moscow deemed illegal.
While Google is currently not available in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the tech giant continues to operate regularly in Russia.