Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister has demanded that Apple cease selling its products and close its App Store in Russia. In a letter, Mykhailo Fedorov, the country’s Minister of Digital Transformation, asked Tim Cook for the tech giant’s support.
“The entire world is repelling the aggressor through sanctions — the enemy must suffer significant losses… [I]n 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to tanks, multiple rocket launchers, and missiles,” he wrote in an attempt to persuade Apple’s CEO.
I’ve contacted @tim_cook, Apple’s CEO, to block the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation, and to support the package of US government sanctions! If you agree to have the president-killer, then you will have to be satisfied with the only available site Russia 24. pic.twitter.com/b5dm78g2vS
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 25, 2022
Russia launched a full-fledged military assault on Ukraine on Thursday morning, entering the country from three sides and attacking by land, air, and sea. It bombarded the country’s major cities, including the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, which was hit with missiles early Friday morning.
In response to the invasion, the US government and its allies announced new sanctions against Russia in the hopes of limiting its military and technological capabilities. Furthermore, the sanctions target Russian oligarchs by restricting their ability to transact in dollars, euros, pounds, and yen.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has an online store in Russia and a local version of its App Store. It complied with a Russian legal requirement to highlight apps created by local developers last year.
According to the news outlet, it has also registered a business office and posted job listings for positions in Moscow in recent months, most likely to comply with local regulations. Last year, Russia began enforcing a law requiring tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Meta to have a physical presence within its borders.
Fedorov concluded his letter to Cook, which he tweeted, with what Ukraine hopes will happen if Apple withdraws from Russia: “We are confident that such actions will motivate Russia’s youth and active population to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”
Cook previously stated that Apple is doing everything possible to support its teams in Ukraine and “will be supporting local humanitarian efforts,” but the company has yet to publicly respond to Fedorov’s request.