Apple removes all Russian VK apps from iOS App Store in compliance with UK sanctions

Apple has removed all apps of Russian technology conglomerate VK from the iOS App Store. The move was taken in compliance with the latest UK sanctions on Russian oligarchs, rich business leaders with a great deal of political influence.

When sanctions blocked digital games sales in Russia, VK called itself the Russian alternative to Epic Games Store and Steam in the country.

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Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin waged a war on its neighboring country, Ukraine as an act of self-defense against NATO expansion into eastern Europe and to reclaim its historic land. Moscow is demanding that Ukraine declares itself a “neutral” territory and Kyiv’s forces should surrender.

Recently, Russian authorities held referendums in four occupied areas of Ukraine to show that they voted in favor of annexation by Russia. However, Kyiv and the West denounced the illegal sham referendum held at gunpoint, and the UK government imposed new sanctions on multiple executives at Gazprombank, a Russian bank with links to VK.

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Apple terminates developer accounts associated with removed VK apps from App Store

In a statement, Apple spokesperson Adam Dema told The Verge that Apple has removed VK apps and also terminated their associated developer accounts.

“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.”

VK also released a statement to a Russian news outlet Interfax that its apps would continue to work, but would face issues with payments and notifications.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Apple took several measures to express its disapproval of the action like suspending the Apple Pay service, halting all purchases via its online store, and pausing advertising on the App Store. The tech giant also raised donations for Ukraine.

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