Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the former has had its fair share of sanctions and bans by many western nations.
The newest is VK, a Facebook-like social networking service in Russia now being pulled down from Apple’s App Store.
Apple however said the app would continue to run effectively on devices that already have it before it was removed from the App Store.
According to Apple, the main reason for the pull is because of conflicts with British sanctions.
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“In recent months, key updates have been implemented on our main products, which will allow the apps to remain relevant for a long time,” the statement continued. “Our experts are doing their best to maintain and continue to improve the user experience.”
Apple confirmed the removal in a statement. “These apps are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government.
“In order to comply with these sanctions, Apple terminated the developer accounts associated with these apps, and the apps cannot be downloaded from any App Store, regardless of location. Users who have already downloaded these apps may continue to use them.”
Russia’s ministry of digital affairs added that it had pushed Apple for a reason for the deletion, “underlining the social significance and scale of use of the services provided by the Russian company” and said a “plan of action” would follow the company’s response.
Apple like many other western companies had voluntarily scaled its Russian operations in the wake of ongoing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that started as far back as February.
The company stopped selling its products and services in the country which has led the country to add iPhones to a list of goods that could be imported and resold without permission of the trademark owner, under the so-called parallel import scheme.
The new UK sanctions were issued on Monday in response to the sham referendums held by Russian authorities in occupied Ukraine.
The latest sanctions include 39 members of the leadership of Gazprombank and Sberbank, state-linked banks.
“Sham referendums held at the barrel of a gun cannot be free or fair and we will never recognize their results,” said the UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly. “They follow a clear pattern of violence, intimidation, torture, and forced deportations in the areas of Ukraine [that] Russia has seized.
“Today’s sanctions will target those behind these sham votes, as well as the individuals that continue to prop up the Russian regime’s war of aggression. We stand with the Ukrainian people and our support will continue as long as it takes to restore their sovereignty.”