Russian internet major Yandex will shut its offices in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Odesa, the company’s public relations officer Ochir Mandzhikov was quoted as saying Vedomosti daily on June 1.
“Yandex.Ukraine is included in the sanction list and practically can’t keep operations on the territory of the country,” Mandzhikov said, adding that the accounts of the company are blocked and employees can’t be paid.
Reportedly, employees in Kyiv and Odesa will be offered positions in Russian offices. The news follows reports that Yandex’s offices were raided in late May by Ukrainian security forces investigating possible treasonable actions by staff.
Yandex released a statement denying any involvement of the employees of Yandex.Ukraine in any illegal activities and the transfer of information to Russian security services.
The upheavals around Yandex are another consequence of the recently imposed Ukrainian sanctions on Russian internet companies and social media. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s latest strike at all things Russian looks set to backfire, as a decree published on May 16 that prohibits Russian social media and other internet sites used by millions of Ukrainians has drawn sharp criticism at home and abroad.
Targets of the ban, drafted by Ukraine’s National Security Council, include the Yandex search engine, anti-virus companies Kaspersky Lab and Dr.Web, and the 1C accounting software that is used by thousands of Ukrainian companies.
Measures imposed on Yandex and Mail.ru Group on May 15 will affect a significant part of their audience and to some extent limit expansion opportunities of the companies, according to analysts.
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