Apple has pulled the app from the Russian social network VK from the App Store worldwide. The social media company said the VKontakte app is not “not available for download and update in the App Store”. However, apps already installed on Apple devices will continue to work, but there may be issues with payments and notifications. In addition, users can access the social network through the mobile website.
“VK will continue to develop and support applications for iOS. Our experts are committed to maintaining and improving user comfort,” the company said in a statement a blog post. But did not specify how these apps will be distributed without being in the App Store, as Apple does not allow users to sideload apps. Last year, in accordance with local law, Apple included UK in the suggested apps section displayed while setting up an iPhone in Russia.
Apple removed the app from the App Store because of: UK sanctions against Russian companies.
“These apps are distributed by majority-owned or majority-controlled developers by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government, in order to comply with these sanctions, Apple has terminated the developer accounts associated with these apps and may the apps are not downloaded from every App Store, regardless of location. Users who have already downloaded these apps can continue to use them,” an Apple spokesperson told The Verge. We have contacted the company for more information.
The VK app is still available on the Google Play Store. londonbusinessblog.com has asked Google if it plans to remove those apps.
Earlier this week, the UK put the 92 sanctions against Russia for the imposition of “mock referendums” in four regions of Ukraine. These sanctions include executives from Gazprombank, which has ties to entities that control UK.
In response to Apple’s removal of the VK app, the Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs said: state media house RT that it has asked Apple about the reason for the removal. They also warned that they have an unspecified “plan of action” based on the response. Notably, Apple removed apps from RT and Sputnik media outlets from the App Store in March.
After Russia began invading Ukraine earlier this year, Apple suspended sales of its products and stopped using search ads in the Russian App Store.