Apple Kicks Russian Social Media Network VK From App Store: Report

Apple has kicked VK, Russia’s take on the social media network Facebook, off the App Store globally to comply with the latest tranche of British sanctions — reports The Guardian.

VK, formerly known as VKontakte, said on its website that the mobile app would continue to work on smartphones it was already installed on. However, the company noted that “there may be difficulties with notifications and payments” due to the removal.

“In recent months, key updates have been implemented on our main products, which will allow the apps to remain relevant for a long time,” VK said in its statement. “Our experts are doing their best to maintain and continue to improve the user experience.”

The U.K. issued a new tranche of sanctions against Russia on Monday in response to the sham referendums held by Russian authorities in occupied Ukraine. These sanctions also target 39 members of the leadership of Gazprombank and Sberbank, Russian state-linked banks that together own a little less than half of VK.

“These apps are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government,” Apple said while confirming the removal in a statement.

“In order to comply with these sanctions, Apple terminated the developer accounts associated with these apps, and the apps cannot be downloaded from any App Store, regardless of location. Users who have already downloaded these apps may continue to use them.”

Apple, like many other companies, has voluntarily distanced itself and its products from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Starting in March, the tech giant suspended all product sales in Russia. Apple has also matched employee donations to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine two to one.