Russian policemen detain a protestor during a rally against the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, on Friday. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE
Feb. 26 (UPI) — Russia is reportedly blocking access to Twitter as users criticize the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“We’re aware that Twitter is being restricted for some people in Russia and are working to keep our service safe and accessible,” Twitter Support stated on Saturday.
The statement was retweeted by the company’s public policy account, which added that Twitter believes “people should have free and open access to the Internet, which is particularly important during times of crisis.”
A Twitter representative declined to answer an inquiry from The Washington Post as to whether Russian authorities gave the company a reason for the shutdowns.
Protestors took to the streets in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities to demonstrate their opposition to aggression in Ukraine after President Vladmir Putin declared war on Thursday. Russian police arrested more than 1,800 protestors on Thursday and another 500 on Friday.
The restriction of the social media platform in Russia adds to the mounting pressure on technology companies to wield their tremendous power to sway the Ukrainian conflict against Russia.
On Friday, Ukrainian digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov sent an exclamation point-filled letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking him to block the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation, claiming it could help sway Russian opinion against the war.
“In 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers and missiles,” Federov wrote.
“I appeal to you and I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe, and finally the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression — to stop supplying Apple service and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to App store!”