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Mykhailo Fedorov. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Mykhailo Fedorov. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Mykhailo Fedorov, who serves as Ukraine’s vice-prime minister and oversees digital operations, urged Apple to halt product sales in Russia and shut down its App Store in the country. 

The government official made the request in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook that he posted on Twitter. Fedorov also said Apple should support the US sanctions placed on Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“I appeal to you and I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe, and, finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression — to stop supplying Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to App Store,” Fedorov said in the letter. 

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, attacking from the north, east and south of the country. Russian troops are shelling Ukrainian cities, aiming to seize the capital, Kyiv.

Apple now operates an online store in Russia that sells iPhones, Macs, iPads, AirPods and other products directly to consumers. It also sells software and services locally and operates a Russian version of the App Store. The company recently added a feature to the iPhone’s software to highlight apps developed within Russia to users of its devices.

In his letter, Fedorov argues that cutting off access to Apple products could motivate young people in Russia to oppose military aggression.

The US government recently adopted sanctions that would bar US manufacturers from exporting certain goods to Russia, but so far, the rules don’t appear to prevent Apple from continuing sales in the country. 

In recent months, the Cupertino, California-based company registered a business office in Russia and this month posted job listings for about half-a-dozen positions in Moscow.

Apple declined to comment beyond a statement from Cook published on Twitter Thursday. 

“I am deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine,” Cook said in the tweet. “We’re doing all we can for our teams there and will be supporting local humanitarian efforts. I am thinking of the people who are right now in harm’s way and joining all those calling for peace.”

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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