(Updates with Yandex comments, adds background)
MOSCOW, June 1 (Reuters) - Russia’s top search site Yandex has decided to close its offices in the Ukrainian cities of Kiev and Odessa, the company said on Thursday.
The decision was announced after Ukraine’s State Security Service raided Yandex’s Kiev and Odessa offices on Monday, accusing the company of illegally collecting Ukrainian users’ data and sending it to Russian security agencies.
Yandex said it had been added to a sanction list by the Ukrainian authorities and its bank accounts had been blocked, making it impossible to pay salaries to its local staff.
“That’s why we decided to close the offices in Kiev and Odessa, we will offer our team the opportunity to continue working in other Yandex’ offices in other countries,” the company said in a statement.
Ukraine imposed sanctions on Yandex and several other Russian Internet firms last month and blocked access to their websites, saying it wanted to guard against cyber threats.
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. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and; Jack Stubbs; Editing by Jack Stubbs)