Russia restricts access to German website Bild

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) – Russia said on Sunday it had restricted access to German newspaper Bild’s website at the request of prosecutors, a move the Berlin-based tabloid said underscored the integrity of his reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s communications watchdog said on its website that it was blocking access to the website for people inside Russia after a March 26 request from prosecutors.

It was not immediately clear why prosecutors requested the restriction. The Attorney General’s office could not be reached for comment outside of normal business hours.

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“The blocking of by Russian censors confirms us in our journalistic work for democracy, freedom and human rights,” Bild editor-in-chief Johannes Boie said on his website.

“And that encourages us to give Russian citizens even more opportunities to inform themselves with news and facts beyond Russian government propaganda.”

A week after the February 24 invasion, Russia passed a law imposing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for intentionally spreading “false” information about the military.

On March 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied a Bild report that claimed his plane had turned around and returned to Moscow on its way to China.

“We have understood for a long time that there is no independent Western media,” Lavrov told Russian RT that day. Lavrov specifically mentioned the Bild report as an example of what Russia calls the West’s “empire of lies”.

President Vladimir Putin declared on March 16 that Russia was the victim of a global information war.

“An unprecedented information war has been launched in which global social networks and all Western media are involved,” he said. “We understand the resources this empire of lies has at its disposal, but it is still powerless in the face of truth and justice.”

Putin says Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, which he calls a “special military operation,” were necessary because NATO expansion threatened Russia and Moscow needed to save Ukraine’s Russian-speaking people from oppression.

Ukraine rejects Moscow’s claims of persecution of Russian speakers as a pretext for invasion and presents them as a Russian effort to expand its hegemony in the region.

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Reuters Editing reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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