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Russia warns it could block Zoom

  • April 08, 2021

MOSCOW: The Kremlin urged Russian companies on Wednesday to develop alternatives to Zoom and a lawmaker warned it could be blocked in the country, after media said the service had restricted access to government agencies.

The US company has emerged as the global leader in video-conferencing applications, becoming ubiquitous as companies and schools moved online after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Russian media reported on Wednesday that Zoom had banned its distributors from selling to government agencies and state companies in Russia and a number of post-Soviet countries known as the Commonwealth of Independent States over concerns of new US sanctions against Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the move was “no big deal” but added that Russia needed to “switch to alternatives”.

“Our operators of similar platforms will need to work hard to complete their services,” he told reporters. “But they do exist and will be able to compensate for the absence of such a popular service as Zoom.”

Alexander Bashkin, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, earlier on Wednesday told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow could be forced to respond to Zoom’s decision.

“Russia is not a supporter of sanctions, but if Zoom takes such a decision with respect to government agencies and state-owned companies, then it is possible to block this service in our country as a reciprocal, symmetrical measure,” the Federation Council lawmaker was cited as saying.

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