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TikTok Blocks RIA Novosti's Account, Deletes Video of DPR Leader as Kiev Continues Shelling

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICPrinted TikTok logos are seen in this illustration taken February 15, 2022.
Printed TikTok logos are seen in this illustration taken February 15, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.02.2022
As of Saturday morning, the account was blocked permanently "over multiple violations" of the network's rules, without explanation as to which rules exactly had been breached. Due to the ban, it is not possible to appeal the decision through the dedicated TikTok complaint form.
Chinese social network TikTok blocked the Russian RIA Novosti news agency's account on Friday night and deleted the video address of the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin regarding the residents' evacuation.
The incident took place during the agency's coverage of events in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine, including the evacuation of their residents to Russia, as local authorities report ongoing shelling of Donbas which started early on Thursday, in violation of the Minsk ceasefire agreements.
A video of Pushilin urging DPR citizens to evacuate to Russia's Rostov Region due to the increase of tensions in Donbas, while stressing the need for women, children and the elderly to be evacuated, was removed from the social network at about 22:10 GMT. The video had been viewed by over 1.2 million people prior to its removal.
In the video, Pushilin says that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky could soon order the military to launch a full-scale offensive in the Donbas, to implement a plan to invade the territory of the DPR and LPR.
Shortly after the video was published, RIA Novosti's social media managers received a notification that the account was blocked, saying: "Your account was permanently banned for multiple violations of our Community Guidelines."
Meanwhile, a similar video address by the head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, with more than 1.9 million views, remains on the channel, which is still available for users, but it can no longer publish new videos.
A toy is pictured on the contact line with Ukrainian armed forces in the village of Molodezhniy in Luhansk region, self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, Eastern Ukraine - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.02.2022
Donetsk People's Republic Starts Evacuation of Civilians as Shelling by Ukrainian Forces Intensifies
RIA Novosti considers the actions of the social network to be unacceptable and appeals to the media watchdog Roskomnadzor with an inquiry about the validity of Tiktok's decision to block the account of the leading Russian news agency.
According to the latest data, about 25,000 people crossed the border with Russia from the LPR side on Saturday morning. Another 10,000 people formed organized columns of evacuees. Since Saturday morning, the government of the DPR has also been planning to organize the evacuation of citizens to Russia by rail.
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