Police to trace Ukrainian users of Russian VKontakte social network / REUTERS

Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov says government agencies will trace people using Russia's VKontakte social network in Ukraine.

"This is also their responsibility. The fact is that now the system that is starting to work will allow us to have information about those who use that social network. They all will be on the books. If they continue to distribute Russian content in Ukraine, the National Police will have to deal with them," he said during the online conference "Digital transformation of the state: prospects and risks of cyber security" on Friday, an UNIAN correspondent reports.

In addition, Danilov said the NSDC and other government agencies, together with international partners, were planning to completely close access to VKontakte in Ukraine in the near future.

Read alsoUkraine embarks on development of cybersecurity strategy after recent cyber attacksBackground

  • Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree greenlighting a new set of sanctions against Russia, which include blocking access to Russian-based social networks. The document came into force on May 17, 2017.
  • The ban was introduced in a bid to counter Russia's hybrid information warfare, including propaganda, manipulation of public opinion, and disinformation, as well as cyber threats coming from Russian intelligence.
  • On May 15, 2020, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky extended the ban earlier enforced on a number of Russian social networks and sites in Ukraine.
  • Representatives of the VKontakte social network have recently announced they managed to bypass access blockings in Ukraine and resumed the work of the mobile app.
  • According to the NSDC, the updated work of the proxy (an intermediary server that allows access to a specific page on the Internet) in the VKontakte mobile app is aimed at collecting data by Russian special services on the citizens of Ukraine and other persons who use the application.
  • On September 14, Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko ordered to check reports on bypassing the ban on VKontakte in Ukraine, which was imposed to counter disinformation being spread on that social network.