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YouTube accused of censorship after Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic accounts blocked

VIDEO-HOSTING website YouTube has been accused of censoring the official channels of eastern Ukraine people’s republics and denying the world’s media access to news from the ground.

Deputy commander Eduard Basurin said that the channels of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s Information Ministry and People’s Militia had been blocked on Friday without explanation.

The accounts of the Lugansk People’s Republic State Television and Radio Company and the press service of the Lugansk People’s Militia were also removed from YouTube, he added.

“These web resources were very popular not only with residents of the independent republics but also with Ukrainian and international users,” Mr Basurin said. 

“Their quickly posted stories were always reliable and unbiased, and practically all world news agencies constantly used them.”

The channels had an audience of more than two million people, with more than half of the visits coming from Ukraine.

Their removal from YouTube, owned by tech giant Google,  “violated the basic UN principles concerning the right to freedom of information,” Mr Basurin said.

“The objective is the information blockade of the independent republics, to deprive us of the opportunity to inform the international community on the Kiev regime preparations for aggression in Donbass,” he said.

The Donetsk military leader suggested that Ukrainian and Western spooks may be behind the attack as part of Crushing Sword, a disinformation operation said to include the staging of footage to  provide false evidence of Russian aggression in the Donbas region. 

Ukraine has amassed some 120,000 soldiers in the region, according to Mr Basurin, with fascist militia allegedly trained by infamous US private security company Blackwater – now known as Academi – said to be among their ranks.

Kiev’s forces have tested Nato-supplied weapons and multiple-launch rocket systems, with drills by chemical warfare troops also reported close to the contact lines.

“YouTube complies with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws, including with respect to content created and uploaded by restricted entities. If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, we disable it.”

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