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BRUSSELS, May 16. /TASS/. NATO believes that Ukraine’s decision to block Russian-language internet resources used by the majority of its population is a matter of national security and has nothing to di with freedom of speech, a NATO official told TASS on Tuesday.
"The Ukrainian government has made clear that this decree is an issue of security, not one of freedom of speech. NATO works with Ukraine to strengthen its reforms, including in the fields of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Freedom of speech is covered by this dialogue. We have trust in Ukraine’s commitment to its international obligations and the system of checks and balances in place in Ukraine," he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko enforced the decision of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council on expanding the list of Russian nationals and entities subject to Ukrainian sanctions and extending earlier sanctions. The blacklist includes 1,228 individuals and 468 legal entities. Among the blacklisted entities are Russian social networks Vkontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki (Classmates), and also e-mail services Mail.ru and Yandex. Internet providers in Ukraine will block access to these websites.
Yandex says it has some 1.1 users in Ukraine. Mail.ru says its platforms are used about 25 million Ukrainian, 16 million use VKontakte networks and Odnoklassniki has about 9.5 million users.