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Ukraine crisis: YouTube closes accounts of pro-Russian separatists

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By The Cube  with AFP
Minefields separate the areas controlled by the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists.
Minefields separate the areas controlled by the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

YouTube has shut down the accounts used by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, the platform has confirmed.

A number of channels linked to the separatists were inaccessible "due to non-compliance with YouTube community rules".

The closure comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia over troop movements near Ukraine.

In a statement to Euronews, the American social media giant confirmed it had disabled several accounts linked to pro-Russian separatists. 

"YouTube complies with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws, including with respect to content created and uploaded by restricted entities," a Google spokesperson said. "If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, we disable it."

YouTube did not elaborate on which of the platform's rules the accounts had violated.

The channels affected by the move include the Lugansk People's Republic Information Centre -- the official news website of the self-proclaimed Luhansk territory.

The website said that its YouTube channel had been shut down "without explanation".

Several other separatist channels were also closed, including the Information Ministry and "people's militia" of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

Fighting broke out in the Donbas region of Ukraine in March 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has itself regularly accused major social networks -- such as Facebook, Google or YouTube -- of violating Russian laws by failing to delete banned content.