Russia Blocks Websites Of The Moscow Times, Radio France International Over Ukraine War Coverage

Russia's communications regulator has blocked access to the Russian language website of The Moscow Times and the website of Radio France International (RFI).

The Moscow Times said on April 15 that its Russian-language website was blocked after it published what authorities call a false report on riot police officers refusing to fight in Ukraine.

The publication said Russian Internet providers had already started to block its Russian-language site. It published a notice from Russia's communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, which said its site was now blocked.

RFI also appeared in Roskomnadzor's database of blocked websites. The station's English, French, and Russian-language websites could not be accessed in Moscow, according to the AFP news agency.

The site has featured a series of hard-hitting reports about Russia's invasion of Ukraine this week.

France Medias Monde, a state-owned holding company in charge of French international broadcasting, said it will continue to look for ways to distribute RFI reports in Russia.

"We will continue our work, mobilizing all technical solutions to continue making our content accessible to the Russian people," France Medias Monde chief executive Marie-Christine Saragosse said in a statement.

Russian authorities have blocked a number of independent media outlets and publications in their attempts to control coverage of the country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

After Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, state regulator Roskomnadzor ordered all media outlets to only use data and information provided by Russia's official sources when covering the war. It also directed media outlets to describe events in Ukraine as a "special military operation" and not a war or an invasion.

Several Russian media outlets have chosen to suspend operations rather than face heavy restrictions on what they can report. The Kremlin has also blocked multiple foreign news outlets, including RFE/RL.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP