Russia Restricts Access To HRW Website Over Statements On War In Ukraine

Russia's communications regulator says it has restricted access to the website of Human Rights Watch (HRW) as a result of the group's statements over Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

A Roskomnadzor official said on April 19 that the move was made at the request of the Prosecutor-General's Office, adding that the restriction was imposed only on one of the items published on HRW's website about the war in Ukraine. That report -- titled Ukraine: Russian Air-Dropped Bombs Hit Residential Area -- is now inaccessible in Russia.

On April 8, Russia revoked the registration of HRW and 14 other foreign organizations that had worked in the country for decades, including Amnesty International and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, due to "violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation."

Further details on what those "violations" were have not been released by the Justice Ministry.

Russian authorities have blocked a number of independent media outlets and publications as Moscow tries to control coverage of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

After Russia launched its invasion on February 24, Roskomnadzor ordered all media outlets and other organizations to only use data and information provided by official Russian sources when covering the war.

It also directed media outlets and other groups to describe events in Ukraine as a "special military operation" and forbid the use of the words war and invasion with regard to the conflict.

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, for their independent coverage of the war.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax