Homepage of Israeli Russian-language news website Vesty

Amid media censorship frenzy, Russia blocks two Israeli websites

Following crackdowns on social media and several local and foreign news sites, Moscow targets Israeli outlets for the first time, restricting access to Vesty and Channel 9 for Russian-based users

AFP, Roy Hahn, Itamar Eichner |
Published: 03.16.22, 18:47
Russia's media regulator Roskomnadzor blocked access to at least a dozen more media websites on Wednesday, including those of Israeli Russian-language news websites Vesty and Channel 9, in a crackdown online that sharply escalated after President Vladimir Putin sent in troops to Ukraine.
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  • Besides the Israeli websites which serve the country's large Russian-speaking community, the Russian regulator also blocked sites such as award-winning investigation website Bellingcat and several Russian regional websites, like Permdaily.ru.
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    אתר וסטי
    אתר וסטי
    Homepage of Israeli Russian-language news website Vesty
    (Photo: Screenshot)
    Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel called the ban an "aggressive and illogical move" and a "blatant and unacceptable violation of the freedom of the Israeli press."
    Roskomnadzor — which prohibits referring to the fighting in Ukraine as a "war", but rather a "military operation" — said that the websites we listed according to a decision by the Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation.
    Russia has restricted access to an increasing amount of independent media since it launched its Ukraine military campaign, and has blocked access to global tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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    יועז הנדל
    יועז הנדל
    Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel
    (Photo: AP)
    Russian censorship can usually be bypassed through the use of VPNs (virtual private networks). Using a VPN allows for more private browsing by blurring the user's location and identity, thus allowing access to sites and services that are blocked in their country. This option has seen a recent surge in popularity since Moscow began tightening its hold on means of communication in the country.
    Vesty — Israel's most popular Russian-language news website and a Ynet sister publication — can also be accessed by Russian-based users through its Telegram channel.
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