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Apple Removes Russian VK Apps From App Store in Response to UK Sanctions

Apple has removed from the App Store all iOS apps belonging to Russian technology conglomerate VK, a move Apple says is in response to the latest round of UK sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

“These apps are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government,” said Apple spokesperson Adam Dema in a statement given to The Verge. “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.”

The UK government on Monday enacted a new package of sanctions affecting tens of executives at Gazprombank, a Russian bank with links to VK. The sanctions were in response to sham referenda recently staged by Russian authorities in occupied areas of Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs told state media outlet RT that it was looking into “the reasons for deleting VK applications and developer accounts, underlining the social significance and scale of use of the services provided by the Russian company.” Meanwhile, VK told Russian news outlet Interfax that the apps may continue to work but that there could be issues with notifications and payments.

VK, or VKontakte, is a social media app created in 2006 by Pavel Durov, who also founded and still runs Telegram. Durov was dismissed as CEO of VK in April 2014 after he allegedly refused to hand over the personal details of users to the Russian Federal Security Service.

Apple’s removal of the apps from its ‌App Store‌ means users no longer have access to the app for social media network VK, the fourth most popular website in Russia, as well as Mail.ru and VK Music. The apps were included in a list that Apple was legally obliged to show to new iPhone owners in Russia for download during initial setup, until Apple stopped selling its products in the country.Tags: App Store, Russia
This article, “Apple Removes Russian VK Apps From App Store in Response to UK Sanctions” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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