Apple has halted all product sales in Russia in response to the attack on Ukraine that has claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Apple had earlier restricted payments on Apple Pay from cards issued by Russian banks and removed apps of Russian state-owned media outlets RT News and Sputnik from the App Store. Apple had also disabled traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety measure for Ukrainian citizens.
In a statement, Apple expressed concern over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the disruption and suffering it has caused to Ukrainians.
The iPhone maker said it has taken a number of actions in response to the invasion. “We have paused all product sales in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking.”
According to a Verge report, Apple chief executive Tim Cook in an internal email urged employees to donate to support Ukrainians. Cook said, “Apple will match your donations at a rate of 2:1 for eligible organisations, and we will make this retroactive for donations to those organisations from February 25. Please visit the Employee Giving Portal to learn more.”
Last week, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister had reportedly urged Apple to ban Russia’s access to its products and services.
Following the attack, big tech companies including Meta, Google and Microsoft too have banned Russian media outlets and their apps and social media channels. Like Apple, Google has also banned payments from Russian banks on Google Pay. Meta has also blocked these media outlets from earning ad revenue on its platforms.
To mount pressure on Russia, several Russian banks have been banned from Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), an international payment system used by thousands of financial institutions.
According to reports, due to the financial sanctions, the value of Russian currency, Ruble, has fallen by 30%.