Russia's state communications watchdog said on Wednesday it was restricting the use of Twitter by slowing down its speed, accusing the social media platform of repeatedly failing to remove banned content from its site.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Moscow had no desire to block any internet resources after the state communications regulator said it was restricting the use of Twitter but that companies had to follow Russian law.
Roskomnadzor, accusing the social media platform of repeatedly failing to remove banned content from its site, said on Wednesday it was slowing down the speed of Twitter and threatened to block the service completely, adding that there were more than 3,000 posts containing illegal content on it as of Wednesday.
It will affect video and photo content, and not text content, the Interfax news agency cited a communications watchdog official as saying on Wednesday.
Twitter, like other US social media, is used widely inside Russia by allies of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny whose jailing last month prompted nationwide protests.
"The slowing down will be applied on a 100% of mobile devices and on 50% of non-mobile devices," the regulator said in a statement on its website.
"If (Twitter) continues to ignore the requirements of the law, the enforcement measures will be continued in line with the response regulations (all the way to blocking)," it said, stressing that the restriction, which was announced earlier on Wednesday, would remain in place until Twitter had removed all illegal content on its website.
Twitter did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Moreover, some Russian government websites including the Kremlin's and that of the lower house of parliament were unavailable for some Russian internet users on Wednesday, Reuters witnesses said.
Russia's state telecoms operator Rostelecom said the disruptions were caused by an equipment malfunction, the TASS news agency reported.
Wednesday's move comes amid mounting efforts by Moscow to exert greater influence over US social media platforms and frustrations over what authorities say is their failure to follow Russian laws.
Last December, parliament's lower house backed big new fines on platforms that fail to delete banned content and another bill that would allow them to be restricted if they "discriminate" against Russian media.