Russia’s state communications watchdog said Thursday it would ban US internet giant Google from advertising its services in the country, accusing YouTube of spreading “fake news” about its military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia has moved to block access to non-state media and information resources and fears are mounting that Google could be next in line for a ban.
The watchdog said Google-owned YouTube had committed “numerous violations” of Russian legislation and was “one of the key platforms, distributing fake news about the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the armed forces of Russia”.
It said it had decided to “introduce measures of coercion”.
It said these included “a ban on distribution of advertising for Google LLC and its information resources”.
It also said it would inform people using Google search engines of its breaches of legislation, without giving details.
The watchdog has already limited access to Google News app and website and accused Google of being “anti-Russian”.
After President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 Russia passed legislation making it a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison to disseminate “false” information about its troops.
It accused YouTube of not tackling information resources of Ukrainian far-right organisations including the controversial nationalist Azov battalion fighting in Mariupol, saying it has not deleted more than 12,000 pages declared extremist by Russia.
It also reiterated complaints that Google has blocked state-owned media such as RT and Sputnik and other Russian media sites.