Russia has followed through on plans to ban messaging app Telegram, with a Moscow court approving the move.

The WhatsApp rival has been under the scrutiny of Russian authorities for months, as the Kremlin seeks to gain access to encrypted communications.

Media watchdog Roskomnadzor sought to limit access to the app earlier this month after the firm failed to give Russian FSB security service access to encrypted messages before a 4 April deadline.

President Vladimir Putin introduced anti-terror laws in 2016 which required technology companies to provide encryption keys to the authorities. But Telegram has publicly declined to hand the information over.

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Today a judge approved the request in a hearing just 18 minutes long. The ban is likely to come in the next month after Telegram has exhausted the appeals process, and will pave the way for it to be blocked across the whole of Russia.

Telegram's founder Pavel Durov told his lawyers not to attend the hearing, saying it was "an outspoken farce" and he did not want to legitimize the process with their presence.

The app has an estimated 9.5m users in Russia, and claims to have over 200m users worldwide.

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