Apple suspends online sales in Russia

Apple on Tuesday confirmed it had halted all sales through its Russian online store following a plea from Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.

In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Fedorov urged the company to halt device sales in Russia and block access to the App Store in the country.

“I am appealing to you and I am sure that you will not only hear, but also that you will do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe and finally the entire democratic world against bloody authoritarian aggression – to stop providing Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to the App Store!

“We are sure that such actions will motivate Russia’s youth and working population to proactively stop shameful military aggression.”

Any attempt to purchase Apple products online through the Russian store now results in a “delivery unavailable” message.

Apple has also blocked all exports to Russia and disabled live traffic and incident updates on Apple Maps in Ukraine to keep Ukrainian citizens safe.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and support all people who are suffering because of the violence. We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid to the unfolding refugee crisis and doing all we can to support our teams in the region,” Tim Cook wrote in a letter.

“Apple is donating to humanitarian relief efforts and providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis. We are also working with partners to assess what more we can do. I know many of you are looking forward to find ways to support too, and we want to help amplify the impact of your giving.

“Starting today, Apple will match your donations at a 2:1 rate for eligible organizations, and we’ll make this retroactive for donations to these organizations since February 25. Please visit the Employee Giving Portal for find out more.”

Apple Pay has been restricted in Russia, and major banks have been barred from using the service. However, access to the App Store has not yet been removed in Russia.

Sputnik News and RT News have also been removed from the App Store outside of Russia.

Apple’s restrictions follow U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia in February, which barred companies from exporting to the country.

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David A. Albanese