Authorities in Moldova blocked access to 22 Russian media sites, saying they were being used as part of an "information war" against the country, according to a decree published by Moldova's Security and Information Service on Oct. 24.
The decree said that the sites distributed content from a "state in military conflict and recognized as the aggressor state," clearly implied to be Russia.
The sites listed, all of which were Russian in origin, included popular state-run or controlled outlets like RT, NTV, Ren TV, and others.
Moldova previously banned the re-broadcast of Russian television news in June 2022, followed by suspending the licenses of a number of Russian-language stations operating in Moldova that were accused of spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine.
Russia has long sought to pressure Moldova, but increased both its rhetoric and aggressive actions towards the country after the election of pro-Western President Maia Sandu in 2020.
Relations between the two countries further deteriorated after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Sandu said in an interview with the Financial Times in May 2023 that she thought Moldova would have been next if Russia had succeeded with its original plan to take Ukraine in three days.
“I don’t believe they would have stopped at the border,” Sandu said. “We are only safe today thanks to Ukraine.”
Sandu also alleged that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the late Wagner Group founder, attempted to foment a coup against her government in February 2023, but the plot was prevented.