Russia blocks 2 Israeli news sites

Israel reportedly rebuffed a Ukrainian request to blacklist Russia’s Sputnik and Russia Today operations.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Two Israeli news services were the latest to be banned by Russia, which is cracking down on news coverage of its war in Ukraine.

According to Ynet, the two Israeli Russian-language websites now being blocked by are Channel 9 and Vesti, which is owned by Yediot Ahronot.

Channel 9 and Vesti are the first Israeli sites to be blacklisted by Moscow.

According to blogger Simon Migliano, who writes about internet security, privacy and censorship issues, Russia has blocked 449 internet domains since it invaded Ukraine on February 24.

High profile sites on Moscow’s blacklist include social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and news sites such as Voice of America, BBC News and Deutsche Welle. According to Migliano, the bulk of the blacklist is made up of Ukrainian and Russian language sites.

The list also includes 118 cryptocurrency and foreign exchange sites blacklisted since the Russian currency devalued.

A number of Western countries have moved to ban Russian media — particularly Sputnik and Russia Today which are state-run and geared for foreign audiences.

Communication Minister Yoaz Hendel reportedly turned down a Ukrainian request on Thursday to block the two.
Russia is heavily censoring news of the war to the Russian people under laws that criminalize “dissemination of knowingly false information” about the Russian military. Those found guilty can face up to 15 years in prison.

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Russian law enforcement announced on Wednesday the first known criminal cases against people posting what is deemed to be “false information” about the war in Ukraine. One of the three people charged was Russian-language cookbook author and popular blogger living abroad.

Associated Press contributed to this report.