Russia unleashes this next step in crackdown on Ukraine region

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Russian authorities aiming to tighten their grip on a region it controls in Ukraine now appear to be routing internet access there through their own digital infrastructure, where it will “likely” be subject to Moscow’s “surveillance and censorship,” a global internet monitor says. 

The reported activity in the Kherson region comes days after Russian troops reportedly used tear gas and stun grenades to quash a pro-Ukraine protest on its streets of its administrative center. 

NetBlocks, a London-based internet monitor, first said on Saturday, it “tracked a near-total internet blackout across the occupied region of Kherson in south Ukraine, affecting multiple Ukrainian providers including Ukrtelecom, Kyivstar, and Volia.” 

People are seen fleeing after tear gas is fired Wednesday, April 27 during a pro-Ukraine rally in Kherson.

People are seen fleeing after tear gas is fired Wednesday, April 27 during a pro-Ukraine rally in Kherson.
(Reuters)

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The next day, regional provider Khersontelecom partially restored access, “however, connectivity on the network has been routed via Russia’s internet instead of Ukrainian telecoms infrastructure and is hence likely now subject to Russian internet regulations, surveillance, and censorship,” NetBlocks said. 

“Metrics show that Khersontelecom’s traffic has been rerouted to pass through provider Miranda, which serves Russian-occupied Crimea, and which in turn is supplied by upstream provider Rostelecom in Russia,” it added. 

People are seen fleeing from the rally in Kherson on Wednesday, April 27.

People are seen fleeing from the rally in Kherson on Wednesday, April 27.
(Reuters)

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Ukraine has admitted to losing control of most of the Kherson region, according to Reuters. 

Russian-appointed officials there are also claiming that parts of the region will start using the Russian ruble as currency this week, the news agency added. 

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