Ukrainian largest mobile operators begin blocking Russian sanctioned websites

Ukrainian largest mobile operators begin blocking Russian sanctioned websitesMobile network operators Kyivstar, Lifecell and Vodafone-Ukraine have begun technical procedures blocking user access to the Russian websites which fall under the latest sanctions.

The consolidated position of Ukraine's biggest operators has been expressed in a statement from Vodafone-Ukraine.

"In compliance with the Ukrainian president's decree, the telecom operators will from now on start technical procedures to restrict the provision of services on said websites in accordance with technical capabilities," the company said in a statement.

The VK site has already been blocked on Vodafone-Ukraine's network, the spokesperson said.

"Throughout this day [Wednesday] we are planning to complete the blocking of all Russian websites from the sanctions list," the spokesperson said.

The country's biggest fixed-line operator, Ukrtelecom, on Tuesday said it had already started implementing the sanctions decree: "Work will be carried out in stages and, according to specialists' preliminary estimate, will take several days up to a week." The company explained this time span as governed by the complexity of the process and the need to engage significant resources.

Cable TV operator and Internet provider Lanet is planning to complete the blocking process by the end of May.

According to the telecom operator Vega, it could block the sanctioned Russian websites within a few days. "With the time constraints and limited resources, the best option is to block user requests at the level of URL, IP, DNS and so on. According to preliminary estimates, this might take a few days," Vega said.

Cable TV operator and Internet provider Volia says complying with the presidential decree will be a labor-intensive and resource-consuming process. "This sanctions decision has an unquestionable impact on most of our company's business processes as well as our relations with users, i.e. directly affects the company's relations with individual and business customers," the company said.

The provider will need time to coordinate further steps to comply with the decree.

"Specialists at the company's technical and legal departments are already working to ensure compliance with the decree. We are assessing in detail the risks and consequences, so it is too soon to talk about when the decree will be finally implemented," the statement says.

It was reported that President Petro Poroshenko enacted the National Security and Defense Council decision on sanctions against social-media sites VK and Odnoklassniki, as well as the and Yandex companies and their services. Access to all of Yandex and services has been banned for three years.
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