U.S. streaming giant Netflix has decided to put the brakes on its services in Russia, amid international concern over Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, the company confirmed Sunday.
“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a Netflix spokesperson told POLITICO.
In practice, this means people in the country will no longer be able to sign up for a new subscription starting on Monday, March 7, and current Russian subscribers will have access to their accounts only until the end of their current billing cycle. After this time, accounts belonging to Russian users will be temporarily suspended, until the situation in Ukraine changes, and Netflix may consider restarting their services in Russia.
The move comes after a series of gradual withdrawals from the Russian market for Netflix, as President Vladimir Putin’s army escalates its violent invasion and assault on Ukraine.
Last week, the company decided to put an immediate “pause” on its Russian TV and film productions. The company also said it would refuse to comply with Russian laws that stipulate certain audiovisual outlets are obliged to carry at least 20 state-supported channels.
There had previously been concerns that the Kremlin would use the U.S. streaming service as a platform for the dissemination of state propaganda, amid the battle for the airwaves as part of the war in Ukraine.