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President approves broad sanctions, including on Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki

The decree comes into force from the date of its publication.

President approves broad sanctions, including on Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki
Photo: Photo: president.gov.ua

President Petro Poroshenko approved on 15 May a decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions against 1,228 individuals and 468 legal entities.

"In accordance with Article 107 of the Constitution of Ukraine, I decree ... to enforce the decision of the National Security and Defense Council as of April 28, 2017 "On the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)," reads the presidential Decree No. 133 published on the website of the president.

The decree repeals a number of similar decrees issued in 2015 and 2016.

Inter alia, this decree provides for blocking access to social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki within the limits imposed on Mail.Ru Group. Ukrainian internet providers will also have to block access to the Mail.ru website itself.

The websites of Kaspersky Lab and DrWeb anti-virus companies will also be blocked, as well as access to all services of Yandex, except for the main page of the search engine.

The adviser of interior minister Zoryan Shkiryak has earlier repeatedly urged blocking the access to Odnoklassniki and VKontakte. In his opinion, these social networks are controlled by Russian special services and serve as a channel for Russian propaganda. He has also proposed blocking Mail.ru.

In February, the Minister of Information Policy Yuriy Stets ruled out the possibility of blocking Russian social networks in Ukraine, since this issue has not been regulated by law.

Odnoklassniki and VKontakte are the most popular social networks in Ukraine. According to the corporation Corestone that is engaged in predictive analytics and big data, 67% Ukrainian internet users use VKontakte, 48% are on Odnoklassniki.

American social networks Facebook and Twitter are lagging behind with 42% and 18% audience, respectively.