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Kremlin ready to search for alternative to Telegram

Earlier on Friday, the Russian media watchdog filed a lawsuit against Telegram

MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Telegram is a convenient tool to communicate with journalists but if it is blocked, the need will arise to search for an alternative, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"There are a lot of messaging services, Telegram is a very convenient one, we have been particularly using it to communicate with journalists," the Kremlin spokesman told reporters. "It will be a pity if no consensus is reached [between Telegram and supervisory bodies] but as far as we understand, it has not happened yet," he added.

"A law is a law, and if it is violated and no measures are taken, we will search for an alternative that would fulfill our requirements in the best possible way," Peskov said.

Telegram’s lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliyev said earlier that the company was technically unable to provide decryption keys to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). He added that the company did not plan to fulfill the FSB’s demand as it was unconstitutional.

"Telegram’s position has not changed - the FSB’s demand to provide decryption keys for messages is unconstitutional, it is not based on law and can be fulfilled neither technically nor legally, which means that the demand to block Telegram is baseless," Akhmetgaliyev said.

By the same token, he declined to comment on legal and technical details, noting that he had not seen the Russian media watchdog’s lawsuit. "Everything depends on the text of the lawsuit, we haven’t read it yet so we cannot provide further comments," the lawyer added.

Earlier on Friday, the Russian media watchdog filed a lawsuit against Telegram for failing to act on an official request to furnish the keys to decrypt user messages within the prescribed time limit.