Apple should cease product sales in Russia and shut down the App Store, according to Ukraine’s vice prime minister. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook, requesting that the company “stop delivering Apple services and products to the Russian Federation.” The proposal comes as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues. Fedorov, who is also in charge of Apple’s digital operations, posted a copy of the letter on Twitter this afternoon, urging the company to “support the package of US government penalties.” In the letter, he goes on to say that Apple should not only stop selling Apple products and services in Russia but also ban access to the App Store. I plead to you, and I am confident that you will not only listen, but will also do everything in your power to safeguard Ukraine, Europe, and, ultimately, the entire democratic globe, to stop selling Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including restricting access to the App Store! Fedorov believes that if Apple took these steps, it would “motivate Russia’s youth and active population to proactively stop the terrible military aggression.”
Currently, Apple maintains the Apple Store Online as well as a Russian version of the App Store in Russia. It also sells software and services in the country on a local level. Furthermore, Apple agreed last year to comply with a new Russian law that mandates the provision of local apps during the setting of a new iPhone or iPad. After the user has completed the standard iPhone setup, iOS will lead them to a specific App Store collection of apps. While the United States and other nations have imposed sanctions on Russia, Apple hardware and software sales and availability in the country appear to be unaffected so far. The penalties prevent American manufacturers from exporting certain goods to Russia, but Apple appears to be unaffected by the sanctions, at least for the time being. On Thursday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook turned to Twitter to declare that the company is doing everything it can for its employees and would also be assisting local humanitarian efforts: The situation in Ukraine concerns me much. We’re doing everything we can to support our teams there, as well as local humanitarian initiatives. I’m thinking of those who are currently in danger and joining all others who are appealing for peace. Apple has yet to respond to Ukraine’s latest request.