The two most popular social networks in Ukraine are now banned, in Ukraine. Russian-owned Vkontakte (VK.com) and Odnoklassniki (OK.ru) are used by more than half of the Ukrainian population, and are far more popular than rivals Facebook and Google+.
For VK.com, the Ukrainian market is the second largest after Russia, with an estimated 15 million users in the country. Odnoklassniki (which translates as Classmates) is also widely popular.
The social networks were blocked because of sanctions imposed against their parent company, Russian IT giant Mail.Ru Group.
Kiev also banned Russian IT company Yandex, which offers similar services to Google – search engine, maps and various apps for smartphones. Russian anti-virus software makers Kaspersky Lab and DrWeb have also been banned.
VK.com, Mail.ru and Yandex.ua are the most visited sites in Ukraine besides Google and YouTube.
Ukraine also prohibited several Russian media and TV channels, including Rossiya Segodnya, RBC, VGTRK, TNT and several others. The ban includes blocking of assets, ban on transactions and broadcasting.
Kiev’s updated blacklist includes 1,228 individuals and 468 companies. Those who had already been banned saw an extension from one year to permanent.
In March, Ukraine imposed sanctions against all five operations of Russian state-owned banks, the Ukrainian offices of Sberbank and VTB, BM Bank (VTB’s subsidiary), Prominvestbank (VEB’s subsidiary) and VS Bank (Sberbank’s subsidiary). They are prohibited from withdrawing capital from Ukraine in favor of the persons connected with them.
Other Russian companies banned in Ukraine include airline Aeroflot, Russian Helicopters, and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.