Apple has become the latest corporation to cease its operations in the Russia, confirming that its Apple Pay financial product will no longer be available in the country.
It signifies another significant setback for the region as payment options shrink due to tightening global sanctions following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Apple commented in a statement, stating: “We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion in Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence.
“We have taken a number of actions in response to the invasion. We have paused all sales products in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. And we have disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.
“We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking.”
The major announcement comes off the heels of Ukrainian Vice-Prime-Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, asking for Apple to block its services to Russia.
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
Just last week, as sanctions elevated panic amongst Russian citizens, the country’s Central Bank sought to provide assurances that ‘cards of all payment systems in Russia would continue to work normally’.
Nonetheless the country then saw a spate of financial institutions halting their operations in Russia – as Mastercard took steps to ensure compliance with new regulations by announcing the blocking of ‘multiple financial institutions’ in the country.
Banks such as HSBC also severed ties with Russian financial institutions, one of them being Russia’s second-largest bank VTB – further elevating the state of economic isolation for the country.
It follows the news that Google Pay has also been halted in the region – as the global tech giant took widespread action to eradicate Russian engagement on its platforms.
Over the weekend, Google blocked all Russian state media from monetising on its platform and on their subsidiary company YouTube, as a response to the invasion of Ukraine.
“In response to the war in Ukraine, we are pausing Google monetisation of Russian state-funded media across our platforms,” stated a Google spokesperson.