Offices of search engine Yandex raided in Ukraine

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The Kremlin lacks full information on searches being carried out in the offices of the Russian IT company Yandex in the Ukrainian cities of Kiev and Odessa to be able to comment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

"Within the framework of the criminal proceedings on [suspicion of] high treason, searches are being conducted at the mentioned companies in Kyiv and Odesa", the SBU spokesperson Olena Hitlyanska wrote on her Facebook page. Treason is punishable by 12 to 15 years in prison and the confiscation of property.

The Yandex press office confirmed that SBU officers are carrying out searches in the company's offices. Our lawyers are on the way to the offices.

Before sanctions were imposed, Yandex employed 320 people in Ukraine and had around 11 million Ukrainian users.

"We still do not have the full information, firstly, it is necessary to understand the causes, whether these actions are part of an investigation or are just checks".

Ukraine's sanctions list includes 1,228 individuals and 468 legal entities.

Russian Federation seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014, after sending in troops and staging a referendum widely denounced as illegal.

More than 450 Russian firms have been blacklisted by Kiev since Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ensuing pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine.