In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Apple has stopped all sales of its products in Russia and removed Russian-run media platforms from the App Store. The action comes after the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Fedorov Mykhailo, wrote a letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, asking for its support to protect Ukraine from authoritarian aggression.
So far, Both Russia Today and Sputnik have been removed from the App Store and Apple Pay, and other such services have been restricted. Apple has also disabled the traffic and live incidents feature on Apple Maps in Ukraine “as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.”
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While stopping the sale of Apple products and services won’t stop the invasion, Mykhailo hopes that “such actions will motivate youth and active population to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”
The Verge obtained a copy of the email response from Cook, in which he said, “We are working to support our teams in Ukraine and across the region. In Ukraine, we have been in contact with every employee, assisting them and their families in any way we can… We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking.”
I’ve contacted @tim_cook, Apple's CEO, to block the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation, and to support the package of US government sanctions! If you agree to have the president-killer, then you will have to be satisfied with the only available site Russia 24. pic.twitter.com/b5dm78g2vSFebruary 25, 2022
Since the invasion began, several sanctions have been imposed against Russia by different governments and major companies. To date, the UK, US and Europe have all agreed to remove certain Russian banks from Swift – a messaging system that allows for smooth transfer of money across borders.
Western leaders have also agreed to freeze the assets of Russia’s central bank, the UK government has restricted British people and businesses from making transactions with the Russian central bank, and the US, UK, EU and others have stopped exports to Russia on products such as high-tech items, chemicals and lasers, and banned the sale of aircraft equipment to Russian airlines.
These sanctions are already starting to affect Russian citizens who have been seen queuing for hours to withdraw money from ATMs after the Russian ruble plummets. One man told the BBC, “I always pay with my phone but it simply didn’t work. There were some other people with the same problem. It turned out the barriers [to the metro] are operated by VTP bank which is under sanctions and cannot accept Google Pay and Apple Pay.”
Netflix, Harley Davidson, Nike and Meta are also among the companies that have refused to support Russian propaganda or have stopped shipments into the country. While these measures won’t directly stop the invasion of Ukraine, it’s hoped that they will make Russian President Vladimir Putin reconsider his actions and prioritize the safety, security and economy of Russia first.