Apple announced on Tuesday that it had stopped selling all of its products in Russia, following in the footsteps of several companies that had already chosen to distance themselves from Moscow, in response to the attack on Ukraine.
Manufacturers of iPhone phones, Mac computers and iPad tablets explained in a message to AFP last week that exports to Russia had been suspended.
It also limited specific services such as Apple Pay payment solution and removed Russian state media apps RT and Sputnik from its App Store.
Apple has also disabled the function of reporting live events on Apple Maps in Ukraine “as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.”
“We will continue to assess the situation and communicate with affected governments on the actions we are taking,” Apple said in a statement.
The Ukrainian government, which has launched calls for help everywhere, has specifically challenged Apple and its boss Tim Cook.
In a letter posted on Twitter on Friday, Ukraine’s Digital Minister Mikhail Fedorov wrote: “Please … stop providing Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to the Apple Store!”.
“I am sure such an action would encourage the young and active population of Russia to end military aggression,” he said.
Following Apple’s announcement on Tuesday, it called on Ukrainian Minister Tim Cook to “get the job done and block access to the App Store in Russia.”
By halting sales, Apple is following the example of other companies that have pulled out of Russia, which has been under severe financial sanctions since last week.
Western countries have in fact imposed a number of economic sanctions against Moscow, particularly an important cog in the world economy by excluding Russian banks from the international interbank platform Swift.
Only in the United States, General Motors has suspended its car exports to Russia until further notice, while Ford has decided to suspend its stake in the transit van joint venture.
Film studio Warner Bros. has announced that it is “pauseing” the release of the latest version of Batman in Russia, but several tech giants have taken steps to limit media influence close to Russian power.
The American payment card issuer Visa and MasterCard have also indicated that they have taken steps to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia, particularly by preventing Russian banks from using their network.
Other companies have taken more drastic measures, with British oil giants Shell and BP planning to split their stakes in several joint projects with Russian companies.