Telegram blocks, then restores Ukraine’s official bots

Many major media outlets, government entities, and public figures in both Russia and Ukraine utilise Telegram to operate content channels.

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Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, GUR, revealed that Telegram had blocked multiple official bots critical of Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. In a statement on the messaging platform, GUR expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, citing the significance of these bots in opposing Russian aggression. Despite the blockade, GUR assured users of the safety of their personal data. Telegram’s press service remained silent in response to inquiries, highlighting the platform’s role as a vital hub for accessing unfiltered information since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

In response to Ukraine’s concerns, Telegram announced restoring access to several chatbots used by Ukraine’s security agencies to collect information about Russia’s war effort. Initially reported by GUR, the suspension prompted concerns regarding censorship amid the ongoing conflict. Telegram bots, automated features enabling users to submit or request information, play a vital role in Ukraine’s response to Russian aggression, facilitating the reporting of Russian military activities within Ukraine.

Although the specific reason for the bots’ temporary suspension remains undisclosed, a Telegram spokesperson attributed it to a ‘false positive.’ Despite occasional disruptions, Telegram remains a primary source of unfiltered information for users in Ukraine and Russia, with President Zelenskiy utilising it for daily video addresses and the armed forces employing it to alert Ukrainians of impending airstrikes and document battlefield developments.