Apple says it has ‘suspended’ all product sales in Russia

Tech giant Apple on Tuesday announced a halt to all product sales in Russia, the latest fallout from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Western governments, sports organizations and big business cut Russia off or slapped punitive sanctions on it for the internationally condemned attack on its neighbor.

“We have suspended all product sales in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports to our sales channel in the country,” a statement from Apple said.

The iPhone maker also announced that Apple Pay and other services had been restricted, while Russian state media’s RT and Sputnik news apps were no longer available for download outside of Russia.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all those who suffer as a result of the violence,” the statement said.

“We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid to the current refugee crisis,” he added.

Ukraine’s defiant government, which has urged its people to fight Russian forces, has asked everyone for help, including Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“I ask you…to stop providing Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to the Apple Store!” Ukrainian Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote in a letter he posted on Twitter on Friday.

Technology platforms embroiled in conflict

Apple also said it has disabled both traffic and “live incidents” in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety measure for Ukrainian citizens.

“We will continue to assess the situation and are in communication with affected governments about the actions we are taking. We join those around the world in calling for peace,” Apple’s statement read.

The announcement came just as the European Union banned Russian RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in the bloc while banning “certain” Russian banks from the SWIFT banking messaging system.

Tech companies from Facebook to TikTok and Microsoft had already taken steps to limit the reach of Russian state-linked media outlets, which are accused of spreading misinformation about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Social media platforms have become one of the fronts of attack, sometimes harboring false narratives but also real-time monitoring of a conflict that marks Europe’s biggest geopolitical crisis in decades.

Facebook’s parent company Meta said on Monday it would restrict access in the European Union to RT and Sputnik.

Video-sharing app TikTok told AFP it had restricted access to Russian state-owned media on its platform in the EU, while Microsoft said it was removing RT from its app store and would change the algorithm of its Bing search engine to move content from RT and Sputnik down. results.

Twitter and Facebook have both been hit with access restrictions in Russia since the invasion of Ukraine and are now “largely unusable”, web monitoring group NetBlocks said.

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