Russian-installed authorities say they have blocked access to YouTube and Instagram in the occupied Kherson region of southern Ukraine.
“We shut down YouTube a few days ago,” said Sergei Moroz, video blogger and spokesman for the local occupation administration. video message posted on Telegram on Wednesday.
“We are now without YouTube or Instagram. But it’s okay, we’re doing well,” Moroz said. He also admitted that locals can use VPNs to circumvent censorship.
The same clip also appeared on a YouTube channel carrying Moroz’s name alongside his previous vlogs.
The announcement confirms reports from Ukraine earlier this week that YouTube had been blocked in the region alongside the Viber messaging app.
The authorities installed in Moscow by Kherson said last month they also planned to block Instagram and Facebook, which have been banned in Russia as “extremist”.
The Kremlin has so far refrained from blacklisting YouTube in Russia, despite to accuse the video hosting platform and its parent company Google of censorship and “terrorism”.
Kherson, a key land bridge linking mainland Russia with annexed Crimea, was the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February.
Occupation forces have since replaced local internet and mobile phone providers with Russian services as part of the so-called campaign to Russify Moscow.
The campaign also involves putting the Russian ruble into circulation, opening Russian banks and issuing Russian passports in occupied Ukrainian territories.