Russia blocks Telegraph website over Ukraine reporting – The Guardian

Russia has blocked the website of the Telegraph for its reporting on the invasion of Ukraine.

The newspaper said it had been accused of “disseminating false information about a special military operation by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine”.

According to Russian government data, Telegraph.co.uk was blocked by internet censor Roskomnadzor for a report published before the invasion on the deployment of mobile crematoriums that could incinerate the bodies of soldiers killed on the battlefield.

The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, had told the newspaper that the system could be a way for the Kremlin to cover up any future combat losses.

The Telegraph report was published on 23 February, a day before Vladimir Putin launched a major attack on Ukraine that sought to capture the capital, Kyiv.

Online data from Roskomnadzor showed that the ban on the Telegraph website was approved in April. It is unclear why the ban was only enforced and made public in June. The topic of combat losses has been extremely controversial in Russia since the military campaign has faced setbacks in Ukraine.

The Telegraph has said it is the first British newspaper to have its website blocked in Russia for its coverage of the war. The website of the BBC and a number of other international media have been blocked in Russia for their coverage of the war as well.

The company said: “The Telegraph is proud of its reporting of the invasion of Ukraine and regrets attempts by Russia to restrict press freedoms.”

Last week, Russia banned 29 members of the British media, including five Guardian journalists, from entering the country. A number of the Telegraph’s staff, including Chris Evans, the editor, were also banned from Russia.

Sign up to First Edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday morning at 7am BST

Russia has banned most local independent media for criticising the war. The independent TV Rain shut down in March after it was blocked, while newspaper Novaya Gazeta suspended operations after government warnings over its coverage of the war.

Echo of Moscow, a popular radio station that was part of state-owned energy corporation Gazprom’s media empire, was also close in March for broadcasting reports and opinions critical of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Source