The Russian government blocked access to Google News in Russia late on Wednesday, citing “unreliable information” about the war in Ukraine, according to state media outlet Interfax.
The order to block Google News came from Russia’s telecom regulator, officially known as Roskomnadzor, which already blocked Facebook and Twitter roughly a week after Russia first invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. In fact, a Russian court has argued that Facebook and its parent company Meta are an “extremist organisation” in the same league as ISIS.
“Based on a request from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, Roskomnadzor has restricted access to the Internet service News.Google in the country,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement, according to Interfax.
“The mentioned U.S. internet news resource provided access to numerous publications and materials containing unreliable, publicly significant information about the course of the special military operation in Ukraine,” Roskomnadzor continued.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Monday.
NATO estimates somewhere between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in just one month of fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, a staggeringly high number for such a short period of time. An unnamed NATO official estimates Russia may have also lost about 10% of the vehicles it’s sent into the country.
At least 977 civilians have been killed and 1,594 injured in Ukraine, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights — a number that’s considered to be a drastic undercount. Officials in the decimated city of Mariupol, for instance, estimate at least 2,400 civilians have been killed in that area alone.
Over 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees, according to the United Nations, with the vast majority, 2.1 million, currently in Poland. About 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine, meaning they’ve had to leave their homes in an attempt to find safety elsewhere in the country.
Disturbingly, a new report from the Washington Post late Wednesday indicates U.S. military leaders have tried to contact their counterparts in Russia but the Russians simply won’t pick up the phone. The concern, of course, is that during times of conflict any miscalculation by nuclear powers like Russia and the U.S. could have the potential to start a nuclear war. Any war involving nuclear weapons would be a tremendously bad idea, to say the least.
Today marks the one-month anniversary of Russian troops first stepping foot into Ukraine. And Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky has asked people to make public demonstrations around the world in solidarity with his country.
“Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard,” Zelensky said on Wednesday about the anniversary.
“Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.”