Russia-Backed Separatists In Ukraine's Donetsk Region Block Facebook, Instagram

A Russia-backed separatist group in eastern Ukraine that calls itself the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) says it has blocked access to Facebook and Instagram in the districts it has been controlling since 2014.

In a statement on May 11, the separatists' de facto Communications Ministry said the move was made "to protect DNR residents from banned information that imposes a threat to their lives."

"Access to Meta's social networks -- Facebook and Instagram -- has been blocked on the territory of the republic," the statement says, adding that the move was made to prevent the distribution of "child pornography, contents propagating narcotics, suicides, and other banned information, including contents with extremist and terrorist connotations."

Meta Platforms has yet to comment on the announcement, which comes as Russia continues to restrict online information about its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's state communications regulator blocked access to Instagram shortly after the invasion was launched on February 24 after Meta said it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages such as, "Death to the Russian invaders."

Moscow backed a pro-Russia insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.