Russia Blocks Lithuania's Delfi News Website After War Reports

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has blocked access within the country to the Lithuanian news website, Delfi, as the government continues to broaden its clampdown on independent media.

A group that promotes uncensored online media, Roskomsvoboda, said on March 25 that the central district court in the city of Kaliningrad had ruled to block Delfi almost three weeks earlier.

The site continued to operate, however, until Delfi posted an article on March 23 about losses suffered by Russian armed forces in the war unleashed by the Kremlin against Ukraine. The story was quickly blocked by Roskomnadzor, and the entire site was inaccessible inside Russia by the following day.

Delfi is one of Lithuania’s leading news websites, offering news and developments in Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Russian, and Polish.

Roskomnadzor has warned media outlets across the country that Russia's attack on Ukraine, which started on February 24, cannot be called a war or an invasion, and should only be referred to as a "special military operation."

The media watchdog has also blocked some social network platforms and websites of RFE/RL's Russian Service and several of its online projects in the Russian language, Current Time, Voice of America, New Ties, Taiga.Info, DOXA, Deustche Welle, and other media outlets as well.

In the highest profile move yet, a court in Moscow on March 21 labeled Meta Platforms as an “extremist organization," a move that effectively outlawed its Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.

Several major international broadcasters have announced suspensions of their operations inside Russia, including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, CBS, and the German ARD and ZDF outlets.

The BBC and ARD have since reopened.