After Russia launched its war in Ukraine, the U.S. government and the European Union imposed economic sanctions on the country. The sanctions include restrictions on foreign transactions to Russian banks. As a result, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital wallets are suspended in Russia. Due to the sanctions, the international business of Russia’s five largest banks can not proceed normally. A Business Insider report confirms that Russia’s Central Bank can not do foreign transactions presently.
Customers of these banks will no longer be able to use their cards abroad or even pay online to companies registered in countries that have issued sanctions. The affected banks are VTB Group, Sovcombank, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, and Otkritie, the statement said. The Central Bank of Russia also noted that the cards issued by the five banks no longer work with Apple Pay or Google Pay, as both platforms are US-based.
Notably, Russian customers will still be able to use their physical cards for contactless payments within Russia. However, as of now, Apple and Google’s digital wallets have an indefinite ban in the country. Furthermore, there are multiple economic sanctions on Russia. There are economic bans from the likes of the U.S., the U.K., the European Union, Japan, and Australia.
Ukraine asks Apple to block Russian App Store, halt device sales
Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister, Mikhailo Fedorov issued an open letter on Friday afternoon, calling on Apple to stop providing products and services to Russian users in response to Russia’s continued attack on Ukraine. Fedorov posted the open letter on his Twitter account, saying he had contacted Apple CEO, Tim Cook to urge him to stop supplying Apple products and services to Russia. Fedorov also specifically mentioned cutting off Russians’ access to the App Store.
The open letter partly reads…
“I appeal to you…to protect Ukraine, Europe, and, finally, the entire democratic world…stop supplying Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to App Store. We are sure that such actions will motivate the…active population of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression.”
On Thursday, the White House unveiled a series of sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions include blocking Apple and other U.S. companies from providing services to the Russian military or Defense Department. However, Fedorov is more demanding, calling on Apple to stop providing services to the whole of Russia.
As of now, there is no official response from Apple regarding Fedorov’s request.