Google has blocked Russia’s Duma TV YouTube channel, according to Reuters. On Saturday, the company said it had “terminated” the channel, which airs meetings of Russia’s lower house of parliament, for a violation of the platform’s terms of service.
“If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action,” a Google spokesperson told the outlet. “Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes.” The company added it was committed to complying with sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in late February.
The suspension quickly drew the ire of Russian officials, with a spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry warning YouTube had “signed its own warrant.” Russia’s Roskomnadzor telecom regulator condemned the move and ordered Google to restore Duma TV’s YouTube access immediately. “The American IT company adheres to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” the agency said.
The response from Russian authorities suggests YouTube could become the latest Western internet service to face restrictions within the country. Shortly after the war in Ukraine began on February 24th, Russia moved to block access to Twitter. In March, it then cut off Facebook and Instagram – but not WhatsApp due to the chat app’s popularity among Russian citizens. It subsequently found the Meta-owned services guilty of “extremist” activity after the company said it would temporarily allow calls of violence in Ukraine and a handful of other countries.