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Apple suspends sales of its products in Russia

Apple suspends sales of its products in Russia

Apple announced Tuesday that it has halted sales of all of its products in Russia after it had already taken several steps in response to the invasion of Ukraine, following in the footsteps of many companies that chose to distance themselves from Moscow.

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The maker of iPhones, Mac computers and iPad tablets clarified in a letter to AFP that it halted exports to Russia last week.

It also limited some services such as payment solution Apple Pay and removed Russian state media apps RT and Sputnik from its app store.

Apple has also disabled live incident reporting functionality on Apple Maps in Ukraine as a “preventive and safety measure for Ukrainian citizens.”

“We will continue to assess the situation and communicate with affected governments about the actions we are taking,” Apple said in its letter.

And the Ukrainian government, which has launched appeals for help everywhere, also specifically challenged Apple and its chief Tim Cook.

In a message posted on Twitter on Friday, Ukraine’s Digital Minister Mikhailo Fedorov wrote: “Please … stop providing Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to the Apple Store!”.

“I am sure that such a measure will encourage Russia’s youth and activists to put an end” to the military aggression, he added.

Following Apple’s announcement on Tuesday, Ukraine’s minister called Tim Cook to “finish the job and block access to the App Store in Russia”.

By suspending sales, Apple is following the lead of other companies that have opted out of Russia, which has been under heavy economic sanctions since last week.

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Western countries have already taken several batches of financial sanctions against Moscow, notably by excluding Russian banks from the SWIFT international interbank platform, an essential tool in global finance.

In the United States alone, General Motors has halted vehicle exports to Russia until further notice while Ford has decided to suspend its participation in a joint venture to manufacture transit trucks in the country.

Film studio Warner Bros. has announced that it is “pausing” the release of the latest Batman installment in Russia while several tech giants have taken steps to limit the influence of media outlets close to Russian power.

The issuers of US payment cards Visa and MasterCard also indicated that they had taken steps to implement sanctions against Russia, in particular preventing Russian banks from using their network.

Other companies have taken tougher measures, such as British oil giants Shell and BP, which planned to give up stakes in several joint ventures with Russian companies.