Russia demands Wikipedia remove 'misinformation' on Ukraine invasion

Roskomnadzor has ordered the website to remove the information it claims is "misinforming Russian users." Should Wikipedia fail to do so, it could be fined up to 4 million rubles (around $49,000).

 Wikipedia webpage in use on a laptop computer is seen in this photo illustration taken in Washington, January 17, 2012 (photo credit: REUTERS/GARY CAMERON)
Wikipedia webpage in use on a laptop computer is seen in this photo illustration taken in Washington, January 17, 2012
(photo credit: REUTERS/GARY CAMERON)

Russia is threatening to take action against the online nonprofit encyclopedia website Wikipedia over the presence of "illegal information" regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, The Kyiv Independent reported, citing Russia's federal communications agency Roskomnadzor's announcement on its official Telegram channel.

Roskomnadzor has ordered the website to remove the information it claims is "misinforming Russian users" regarding the invasion, which Moscow officially - — and legally — refers to as only a "special military operation." Should Wikipedia fail to do so, it could be fined up to 4 million rubles (around $49,000).

Russia has begun cracking down on information shared domestically regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine in order to weed out content that it deems as "discrediting" the Russian military and its actions. This led to the forced shutdown of numerous independent news outlets or, in the case of some, like the Moscow Times, flee the country.  Other foreign news outlets have left Russia as a result. 

This policy also extends to civilians who may share content that Russia deems "fake news" themselves, such as over Instagram, and charges have already been brought against several individuals for doing exactly that.

Intentionally spreading what Russia characterizes as fake news regarding the Russian military could potentially result in prison sentences of up to 15 years.

 Social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok (credit: Courtesy) Social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok (credit: Courtesy)

Russia's threats of action against Wikipedia come as the US State Department has slammed Moscow's efforts at preventing the Russian people from learning about the truth regarding the invasion of Ukraine.

"Despite the Kremlin's attempts to keep them in the dark, the people of Russia continue to seek out independent information sources. We will continue to share the truth with the people of Russia," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in video statements uploaded to Twitter.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin chose this war. The people of Russia didn't. They have the right to know about the death, suffering and destruction being inflicted by their government and military on the people of Ukraine."

This is a developing story.