The Google search engine will be banned in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, currently under Russian occupation, as reported by The Guardian.
Denis Pushilin, leader of the Russia-backed separatist state Donetsk People’s Republic, posted a message on Telegram accusing Google of “promot[ing] terrorism and violence against all Russians, and especially the population of Donbas,” according to The Guardian.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine this spring, a number of social media platforms have been banned in Russia and in the occupied regions. In March, a Russian ban on Facebook and Instagram was upheld, accusing the platforms of engaging in “extremist activities” for policies that allow for users in some countries to share content that normally would violate rules against violent speech. The separatist states in Ukraine soon followed, banning Instagram and Facebook in May.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Monday, Google was fined nearly $365 million by Russia over “prohibited content” on YouTube that supposedly promoted “extremism and terrorism” and that officials say included false information about the war in Ukraine. The Russian state has ramped up its enforcement of laws meant to clamp down on critics of the war, even limiting the use of the word “war.”
In May, Google’s Russian branch filed for bankruptcy, saying it was “untenable” for the office to continue operation.