Russia fines Google for Ukraine videos – The Citizen

On Thursday, a Russian court slapped a string of small fines on Google for failing to remove controversial YouTube videos about the Kremlin military operation in Ukraine.

The Moscow court ordered the US tech giant to pay a total of 11 million rubles ($ 135,000) for ignoring orders from the state media regulator to remove posts reporting heavy Russian losses in Ukraine.

One of the videos showed an alleged telephone conversation between Russian soldiers and their relatives at home in which troops complained of numerous casualties among their ranks, Russian state news agencies reported.

Another said soldiers who were trying to withdraw from the Ukrainian counter-offensive would be shot at by Russian detachments blocking the retreat, according to state media.

Google’s ubiquitous video hosting service was targeted by Russia during its nearly two-month campaign in Ukraine.

The tech giant infuriated Russian officials by blocking the official media channel of the lower house of parliament earlier this month.

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Russia has moved quickly to cut access to media and non-state information resources since its operation launched on February 24.

Russian courts have banned Facebook and Instagram, calling them “extremist” organizations, as well as Twitter.

All three are still accessible via VPN services, which try to hide user locations.

But most Russians get the news from state television and other government-controlled media, which follow strict rules on military campaign coverage.