Apple has removed all iOS apps belonging to Russian technology conglomerate VK from the App Store. Apple says the move 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.”
On Monday, the UK government enacted new sanctions on Russian oligarchs in response to sham referendums Russia recently held in parts of Ukraine. The sanctions affect 23 executives at Gazprombank, a Russian bank with ties to VK.
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.
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.