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VKontakte: Apple kicks out Russian social network

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iPhone apps from the Russian social network are no longer available in the App Store, developer accounts have been suspended. Apple refers to sanctions.

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Apple has removed several apps from the Russian social network VK.com from the App Store worldwide and blocked associated developer accounts. The apps can no longer be downloaded as a result. VK apps are “blocked” by Apple, but versions already installed should continue to be usable without major restrictions, the Russian network said. However, there may be issues with certain features such as notifications.

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According to the service, VK has already prepared in recent months to be able to keep the apps up to date for a longer period of time. However, the apps will no longer be able to obtain updates from the App Store until further notice. VK also refers to its web app as an alternative, but they still want to develop and support iOS apps in the future. The VK app is currently still available in Google’s Play Store.

Apple has since confirmed that the apps were provided by providers “majority owned or controlled by third parties subject to sanctions imposed by the UK government,” a company spokesman told The Verge. Apple has therefore blocked the developer accounts and removed the apps – apparently also from the App Store in Russia. Britain imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs earlier this week.

Following the Russian attack on Ukraine in February, Apple “paused” hardware sales in Russia and suspended certain services, including Apple Pay. Despite corresponding demands from Ukrainian politicians, the App Store is still available in Russia, presumably also in order not to prevent the sharp increase in downloads of VPN apps and crypto messengers. So far, Apple has only removed apps from state broadcasters such as RT News from the App Store outside of Russia.

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(lbe)

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