Apple appears to have complied with demands by Moscow to show the annexed Crimean peninsula as part of Russian territory on its apps — but only for users in Russia.
According to a new report from Reuters, Apple is showing Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula as being part of Russia on some of its apps, a move that lawmakers in Moscow hailed as correcting an earlier “error” by the U.S. technology giant but one that is sure to anger Kyiv.
Users in Russia who typed the name of the Crimean provincial capital Simferopol into Apple’s Maps and Weather apps on Wednesday reportedly saw it displayed as “Simferopol, Crimea, Russia.” Users elsewhere — including in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and in Crimea itself — see locations in Crimea displayed without specifying which country they belong to.
Russia and Ukraine have been highly sensitive to the way global companies identify Crimea since Russian troops invaded the territory in 2014 after a referendum that Kyiv and its Western allies say was illegal.
The EU and the United States do not recognize Crimea as Russian and have imposed sanctions against the peninsula and individuals they accuse of violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Ukraine responded angrily, saying Apple did not “give a damn” about its pain.
“Let me explain in your terms, Apple,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, wrote on Twitter in English. “Imagine you’re crying out that your design and ideas, years of work and piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy, but then somebody ignorant doesn’t give a damn about your pain.
“That’s how it feels when you call Crimea a Russian land.”
Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, reported on Wednesday that the head of the committee on security and anti-corruption, Vasily Piskaryov, had held a meeting with an Apple representative.
According to a report on the State Duma website, Piskaryov said: “Apple has fulfilled its obligations and brought the programmes on its devices in line with the requirements of Russian law.”