Ukraine is calling on Twitter to remove a “blue check” verified account of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s office in Crimea, accusing the social-media giant of promoting Kremlin propaganda.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Volodymyr Yelchenko, sent a letter to Twitter asking the company to deactivate the Russian account, the embassy in Washington said on February 8.
The account of “Russian occupation authorities in Crimea cannot be described as official and legitimate,” the diplomatic mission said on Facebook.
Moscow illegally annexed Crimea in early 2014 and later threw its support behind pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east, where some 13,200 people have been killed in an ongoing conflict.
The account in question describes itself as the “official twitter account” of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s representative office in the city of Simferopol, Crimea’s second-largest city. The account has nearly 12,000 followers and a “blue check” verification.
Twitter gives blue checks to accounts of public interest deemed “authentic” and pledged last year to improve the process of identifying verified profiles.
First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar wrote on Facebook that Ukraine’s diplomats have been “working out the necessary steps” to counter Russian attempts to legitimize aggression against Ukraine online.
She accused Twitter of promoting Russian “propaganda and disinformation aimed at undermining the sovereignty of Ukraine as well as the legitimization of the ‘Russian’ status” over Crimea.