On Monday, the British government put restrictions on 92 Russian people and groups.
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – On Wednesday, Apple confirmed that it took the popular Russian social network VKontakte off its App Store around the world because Britain put sanctions on it.
On Monday, the British government put sanctions on 92 people and organisations in Russia. This was done after President Vladimir Putin’s government held referendums in parts of Ukraine that are controlled by Moscow. Kyiv and its allies called these a “sham,” and Putin also made more threats against the West.
In a statement, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, “Sham referendums held at the point of a gun cannot be free or fair, and we will never recognise their results.”
The sanctions are aimed at “those behind these fake votes and the people who keep supporting the Russian regime’s aggressive war,” he said.
In a blog post, VK, a tech company in San Petersburg, said that some of its apps were no longer on the App Store, which is the only way to get content onto Apple mobile devices.
As well as social networking, VK apps can be used to send messages, make digital payments, and shop for groceries.
The VK apps that were taken off the App Store were being sold by developers who were controlled or mostly owned by parties approved by the UK government. According to the Silicon Valley tech giant, Apple is following the law.
Apple said that it closed the developer accounts for the apps, so users couldn’t get them from the App Store no matter where they were.
Apple and VK say that people who already have the apps on their devices can still use them, but the App Store will no longer offer updates.
VKontakte’s parent company, VK, said of the apps, “Their core functionality will be familiar and stable.”
“There may be problems with the processing of payments and notifications.”