Netflix took an about face Monday in its plans to continue to move forward with its service in Russia, and has suspended streaming there in the wake of the ongoing military actions in Ukraine.

In a statement Monday, the company said “Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia.”

In its last financial period, the world’s largest streaming service reported having less than 1 million subscribers in Russia, out of 74 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In 2021, Netflix tallied 222 million total subs across 190 countries.

Just last week Netflix said it would not comply with a new communications mandate in Russia requiring all streaming services to carry local state-controlled news channels as part of their offerings in the country. At that time, the company said it planned to continue offering the service in Russia

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Russian government controlled censorship is prohibiting any coverage showing Russian forces as aggressors or invaders in Ukraine, instead painting the military actions as defending Russian citizens living in Ukraine from hostile hard-right extremist forces within the country.

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter last week, Netflix also suspended all upcoming Russian-language series and future acquisitions from Russia.

Netflix ended 2021 with almost 222 million subs across 190 countries. The streamer does not operate in China, North Korea, Syria and Crimea — the latter Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Netflix’ decision comes at a time when Western countries have started to put pressure on video distribution services to stop carrying Russian-government-backed news and opinion services, including RT and Sputnik in their countries.

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By Greg Tarr

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