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Kremlin says other services should not be affected by court-ordered block on Telegram

April 27, 15:55 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

Efforts by Russia’s telecom and media watchdog on blocking Telegram should not affect other services, according to the Kremlin

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© Kirill Kukhmar/TASS

ST. PETERSBURG, April 27. /TASS/. Efforts by Russia’s telecom and media watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, on blocking Telegram should not affect other services, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday, adding that it is still necessary to enforce the court’s decision.

"We have repeatedly stressed that Roskomnadzor’s actions to restrict access to the messenger (Telegram - TASS) in question is pursuant to the court’s decision," he said when commenting on the complaints of other online players. "Of course, those actions should not affect other services, this is clear," Peskov resumed. "Meanwhile, there are certain technological and technical hurdles in this regard. Probably, the very process of restricting access to Telegram has turned out to be more difficult than previously expected, which does not mean though that the court’s decision should not be enforced," the Kremlin spokesman emphasized.

Replying to a statement by the internet service Yandex that the regulator’s actions to block Telegram, ended up restricting access to global and Russian internet services, and would primarily affect the Russian section of the global network, Peskov said: "To agree or not agree with such statements one has to obtain required technical expert evidence." "Obviously, the presidential administration cannot obtain this evidence," he added.

Earlier on Friday, Yandex Public Relations Director Ochir Mandzhikov said that the company feels that the situation is anything but normal. According to the PR chief, the Russian market can only develop under an atmosphere of open competition, and restrictions on access to global and Russian internet services will first and foremost hurt the local section of internet. Mandzhikov added that the company considers the lack of freedom and absence of choice for Yandex users to be the most dangerous consequences of the ban.

On April 13, Moscow’s Tagansky Court satisfied the claim of Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media to block access to the Telegram instant messaging service in Russia due to its failure to provide the keys for decrypting users’ messages to the Federal Security Service (FSB). On April 16, communication providers embarked on carrying out the blocking process. On April 16, the watchdog also started blocking the IP-addresses of Amazon’s and Google’s subnetworks that Telegram uses for operation, which resulted in reported operational failures along external web resources that were used by their hosting services.

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