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Apple halts sales in Russia, bans propaganda apps over Ukraine war

Good luck buying an iPhone in Moscow. Apple banned the sales of all its products in Russia on Tuesday as more companies pull out of the country. Users looking to order products like iPhones, iPads and Mac computers from Apple’s Russian site were given a “Delivery: currently unavailable” message starting late Tuesday. While Apple has no official stores in Russia, its devices are sold widely through third-party vendors. Apple told reporters that it had “stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country” starting last week, meaning that stores in Russian cities could soon run out of iPhones. Apple also said in a statement that it is banning Russian state-controlled news outlets RT and Sputnik from its app store in every country except Russia. American users who tried to download the RT app late Tuesday were told “this item is no longer available.” In addition, Apple is removing the traffic and “live incidents” features from Apple Maps in Ukraine in what it said was a “safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens” amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion. That echoes a similar measure Google took over the weekend, when it disabled live traffic on Google Maps after the tool and been used to track movements of both Ukrainian and Russian troops as well as civilians. Other companies including Nike and Volvo have pulled their products from Russia following the country’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. see also Apple’s move comes days after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote a letter personally addressed to CEO Tim Cook calling on the company to bar Russia from using Apple products and services – including the App Store. “We are sure that such actions will motivate youth and active population of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression,” Federov wrote. But some analysts have said that cutting Russians off from the app store entirely would make it more difficult for them to get accurate information about the war in Ukraine. Other Big Tech companies have also taken steps they say will help protect Ukrainians from Russia’s invasion. Facebook parent Meta, Goggle-owned YouTube and Twitter have placed restrictions on Russian state media outlets including RT and Sputnik.

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