Apple has pulled the largest Russian social network, VKontakte, from the App Store. That reports VK , the parent company of the social network. The app will still work on phones with VKontakte already installed. The company does say there could be issues with notifications or payments.
The far-reaching measure follows sanctions against Russia imposed by the United Kingdom, Apple confirms to NOS. One or more owners of the parent company are on the UK sanctions list. As a result of the sanctions, the apps are not available for download in any App Store worldwide, the company said. Also, the developer accounts associated with the apps have been removed.
Apple does not say which owners are involved. It is also not clear why the step is being taken now. The United Kingdom’s sanctions list is continuously updated, the last time being last Monday.
It is possible that that update is the reason for this step. It also raises the question of whether Google is taking the same measure in its download store, the Play Store.
At VK, the Russian parent company of VKontakte, the company MFT, with three Russian shareholders, is in control. This company is not on the UK sanctions list. VK CEO Vladimir Kirijenko has been on the list since March.
Russia demands a statement from Apple. Communications watchdog Rozkomnadzor says the company is discriminating against the decision. In addition, it would be a violation of the right to free information and communication of Russian citizens.
In addition to VKontakte, other apps from parent company VK have also been removed. According to news agency Interfax, these are Mail.ru , Mail.ru Cloud, VK Music and VK Clips. The Russian Ministry of Digital Transformation has asked Apple for an explanation.