Apple has removed VKontake from all iOS apps. The decision to remove it from the App Store was in response to the latest round of UK sanctions against the Russian aggression in Ukraine. The sanctions affect 23 executives at Gazprombank, a Russian bank with ties to VK.
Vkontakte or VK (Russia’s version of Facebook) is one of Russia’s most popular social media platforms, with over 97 million subscribers worldwide. Other apps owned by the parent company VK have also been removed, including apps for email, digital payments, and food delivery services.
The apps continue to work however, they can no longer be downloaded. Currently, VK apps are still available on the Google Play Store.
This latest announcement comes after Apple’s decision in March to pause all Apple product sales in Russia, as well as limiting Apple Pay and removing Russia’s RT News and Sputnik News apps.
In a previous statement from Apple:
“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence. We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.
We have taken a number of actions in response to the invasion. We have paused all product sales in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia. And we have disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens. We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with the relevant governments on the actions we are taking. We join all those around the world who are calling for peace.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia has blocked several American social media sites including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of Digital Marketing Radar & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars and smoothies.