Apple Removes Russian Facebook Competitor VK From App Store | social media

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Apple has removed Facebook’s Russian competitor VK from its global app store, citing conflicts with UK sanctions.

In a statement posted on the social network’s website, the company said the app would continue to work on smartphones that already had it installed before the takedown, but warned users that “there may be difficulties with notifications and payments” accordingly.

“Over the past few months, key updates have been implemented across our core products that will keep apps relevant for a long time,” the statement continued. “Our experts do their best to maintain and continue to improve the user experience.”

Apple confirmed the removal in a statement. “These apps are distributed by developers majority owned or majority controlled by one or more UK government sanctioned parties.

“In order to comply with these sanctions, Apple has terminated the developer accounts associated with these apps, and the apps cannot be downloaded from any App Store, regardless of their location. Users who have already downloaded these apps can continue to use them.

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Affairs said it pushed Apple for the reason for the removal, “highlighting the social significance and breadth of use of the services provided by the Russian society” and said that a ” action plan” would follow the company’s response.

Like many Western companies, Apple voluntarily reduced its operations in Russia after the country launched its latest attack on Ukraine in February. It stopped selling its products, forcing the country to add iPhones to a list of products that can be imported and resold without permission from the brand owner, under the so-called parallel import regime.

The latest tranche of British sanctions was issued on Monday, in response to sham referendums held by Russian authorities in occupied Ukraine to demonstrate their consent to the annexation of the territories. The latest sanctions concern 39 members of the management of Gazprombank and Sberbank, state-linked banks that together own just under half of VK, formerly known as VKontakte.

“Mock referendums held at the barrel of a gun cannot be free or fair and we will never recognize their results,” said British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. “They follow a clear pattern of violence, intimidation, torture and forced evictions in the regions of Ukraine [that] Russia seized.

“Today’s sanctions will target those behind these bogus votes, as well as individuals who continue to support the Russian regime’s war of aggression. We stand with the Ukrainian people and our support will continue for as long as it takes to restore their sovereignty.

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