Russian law on ‘fake news’ prompts media to halt reporting as websites blocked

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LVIV/KYIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russia blocked Facebook and another websites and handed a law that gave Moscow a lot stronger powers to crack down on impartial journalism, prompting the BBC, Bloomberg and different international media to droop reporting within the nation.

War raged in Ukraine for a tenth day on Saturday as Russian troops besieged and bombarded cities within the greatest assault on a European state since World War Two.

The combating has created over 1 million refugees, a barrage of sanctions which might be more and more isolating Moscow and fears within the West of a wider world battle that has been unthought-of for many years.

Moscow says its invasion is a “particular operation” to seize people it regards as harmful nationalists, and has denied concentrating on civilians.

Ukraine’s state service of particular communications and safety of knowledge says Russian forces have focussed efforts on encircling Kyiv and Kharkiv, the second-biggest metropolis, whereas aiming to set up a land bridge to Crimea.

Kyiv, within the path of a Russian armoured column that has been stalled exterior the Ukrainian capital for days, got here beneath renewed assault, with explosions audible from town centre.

Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne cited authorities in Sumy, about 300 km (190 miles) east of Kyiv, as saying that there’s a danger of combating within the metropolis’s streets, urging residents to keep in shelters.

Russian forces even have encircled and shelled the southeastern port metropolis of Mariupol – a key prize. There is not any water, warmth or electrical energy and meals is working out, in accordance to Mayor Vadym Boychenko.

“We are merely being destroyed,” he stated.

President Vladimir Putin’s actions have drawn virtually common condemnation, and plenty of international locations have imposed heavy sanctions as the West balances punishment with avoiding a widening of the battle.

Fighting again within the info struggle, Russia’s parliament handed a law on Friday imposing a jail time period of up to 15 years for spreading deliberately “faux” information in regards to the army.

“This law will drive punishment – and really robust punishment – on those that lied and made statements which discredited our armed forces,” stated Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the Duma, Russia’s decrease home of parliament.

Russia is obstructing Facebook for limiting state-backed channels and the websites of the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America.

CNN and CBS News stated they’d cease broadcasting in Russia, and different retailers eliminated Russian-based journalists’ bylines as they assessed the state of affairs.

MORE SANCTIONS ON THE WAY?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is predicted to press Washington for extra assist in a Zoom name with the total U.S. Senate at 9:30 a.m. ET (1430 GMT) on Saturday.

The United States is weighing cuts to imports of Russian oil and methods to minimise the influence on world provides and customers as lawmakers fast-track a invoice that may ban Russian power imports. Global oil costs surged over 20% this week on fears of provide shortages, posing a danger to world financial development.

At a gathering on Friday, NATO allies rejected Ukraine’s attraction for no-fly zones, saying they have been growing help however that stepping in instantly may make the state of affairs worse.

“We have a duty … to stop this struggle from escalating past Ukraine as a result of that may be much more harmful, extra devastating and would trigger much more human struggling,” stated NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Zelenskiy slammed the summit as “weak” and “confused.”

“It was clear that not everybody considers the battle for Europe’s freedom to be the primary aim,” he stated.

More EU sanctions have been coming, doubtlessly together with a ban on Russian-flagged ships in European ports and blocking imports of metal, timber, aluminium or coal, stated Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu advised U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday that talks with Ukraine on peacefully ending the battle had “not moved from the start line,” Tass information company stated.

HUMANITARIAN DISASTER

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, with greater than 1 million folks looking for refuge in western Ukraine and in neighbouring international locations.

Thousands of individuals waited for hours on Friday exterior the railway station on the western metropolis of Lviv to board trains heading to Poland. Families arrived with few belongings. Some have been in wheelchairs, others accompanied by pet canines and cats, unsure about their destiny.

“All we took with us is the naked requirements,” stated Yana Tebyakina. “A change of garments. That’s it. All the remainder we left behind, all our lives stayed again at dwelling.”

A Friday assault on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant, the most important in Europe, about 140 miles (230 km) west of Mariupol, introduced the battle to a dangerous second, however officers later stated the power was secure.

The plant and adjoining territory have been now being guarded by Russian troops, Moscow’s envoy to the United Nations stated.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated the world had narrowly averted a nuclear disaster.

The assault mirrored a “harmful new escalation” in Russia’s invasion, she stated throughout an emergency U.N. Security Council assembly, demanding assurances from Moscow that such an assault wouldn’t occur once more.

Russian forces have made their greatest advances within the south, the place they captured their first sizeable Ukrainian metropolis, Kherson, this week. Bombing has worsened in latest days within the northeast cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych stated an advance had been halted on the southern port of Mykolayiv. If captured, town of 500,000 folks can be the most important but to fall.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Natalia Zinets, Aleksandar Vasovic in Ukraine, John Irish in Paris, Francois Murphy in Vienna, David Ljunggren in Ottawa and different Reuters bureaux; Writing by Peter Graff, Angus MacSwan, Costas Pitas and Kim Coghill; Editing by Frances Kerry, Jon Boyle, Toby Chopra, Daniel Wallis and William Mallard)



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