Belarus has blocked access to an independent online news service based in Poland and financed by the Polish foreign ministry, according to a report. Officials said it was disseminating “extremist” content.

However, the move to block the Charter97.org news service, which has been in operation since 2011, comes despite attempts to normalise relations with Minsk taken by the West from 2015 to 2017, Poland’s niezalezna.pl website reported.

According to Radio Poland online, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has reportedly benefited from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine because he has gotten rid of his moniker as “Europe’s last dictator”.

Charter97.org, which is available in Belarusian, Russian and English language versions, reached 250,000 users daily, with about 2.5m users and 50m hits a month.

According to reports in the media, the decision to block Charter97.org is beneficial to Russia because it weakens Belarus’ sovereignty, the editor-in-chief of Charter97.org, Natalya Radina said, as quoted by niezalezna.pl.