Apple said on Tuesday, March 1st, that it had paused the sales of its products in Russia and taken several other steps in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The company said it had removed two Russian state-run media platforms, Russia Today and Sputnik, from the Apple App Store outside Russia, stopped all exports into its Russian sales channel last week, and disabled both traffic and live incident features in its Apple Maps app in Ukraine “as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.”
Apple said it had also “limited” the use of Apple Pay “and other services” in Russia.
“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” the company said in a statement.
Apple’s actions were also announced by Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, on the messaging platform Telegram.
“Apple has stopped selling its equipment in the official online store in Russia, thanks to Tim Cook,” Mr. Fedorov wrote in Ukrainian, citing Apple’s chief executive. Soon, people were tweeting screenshots of checkout pages for Apple products, with messages showing that the products were not available.
Tech companies are wrestling with whether to accede to demands from Russia and Western countries about blocking misinformation and state-run media on their platforms.
On Monday, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said it would restrict access to Russia Today and Sputnik across the European Union. Google, which owns YouTube, said in a blog post-Tuesday that it would block YouTube channels related to Sputnik or Russia Today across Europe.
After Google said it would block YouTube channels from RT and Sputnik in Europe, the company said it would no longer allow Russian state-funded media to appear in Google News and its other related news properties including Top News and the News tab.