Apple Removes Russian VK Apps From App Store in Response to UK Sanctions

Apple has removed from the App Store all iOS apps belonging to Russian technology conglomerate VK, a move Apple says is in response to the latest round of UK sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

vk logo

"These apps are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government," said Apple spokesperson Adam Dema in a statement given to The Verge. "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."

The UK government on Monday enacted a new package of sanctions affecting tens of executives at Gazprombank, a Russian bank with links to VK. The sanctions were in response to sham referenda recently staged by Russian authorities in occupied areas of Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs told state media outlet RT that it was looking into "the reasons for deleting VK applications and developer accounts, underlining the social significance and scale of use of the services provided by the Russian company." Meanwhile, VK told Russian news outlet Interfax that the apps may continue to work but that there could be issues with notifications and payments.

VK, or VKontakte, is a social media app created in 2006 by Pavel Durov, who also founded and still runs Telegram. Durov was dismissed as CEO of VK in April 2014 after he allegedly refused to hand over the personal details of users to the Russian Federal Security Service.

Apple's removal of the apps from its ‌App Store‌ means users no longer have access to the app for social media network VK, the fourth most popular website in Russia, as well as Mail.ru and VK Music. The apps were included in a list that Apple was legally obliged to show to new iPhone owners in Russia for download during initial setup, until Apple stopped selling its products in the country.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

LeeW Avatar
17 weeks ago

What happened to free speech? Many people on the app don’t agree with putin, the people suffering are innocent Russians.
The reason has nothing to do with Free Speech, it's who owns it. You can't just throw 'Free Speech' in front of everything.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Alchemist Avatar
17 weeks ago

Free speech means the government won't persecute you for expressing your opinion. This isn't that.

Also, Russians aren't innocent. Most support what Russia is doing in Ukraine, and Putin.
This. Removing a platform, in this case VK, from another platform, in this case the Apple App Store, is not a denial of free speech.

If you're concerned about defending free speech, take a look at Russia itself. Expressing an anti-war opinion in Russia will get you locked up right now. Holding a blank placard on the street will get you locked up right now. That is a denial of free speech, this action by Apple and the UK is not.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ninethirty Avatar
17 weeks ago

What happened to free speech? Many people on the app don’t agree with putin, the people suffering are innocent Russians.
Free speech means the government won't persecute you for expressing your opinion. This isn't that.

Also, Russians aren't innocent. Most support what Russia is doing in Ukraine, and Putin.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ninethirty Avatar
17 weeks ago

Many don't actually support, but speaking out isn't an option for them. And many of those that support Putin's activities do so based on the story they're fed, which is very different to the story we're fed in the West.
Many is not most. Do yourself a favor and read about split Russian families. Those still living in Russia believe quite strongly what they've been told, and won't listen at all to expat Russians who have tried to warn them that they're being fed lies.

Regardless, taking some extra time to look at any situation objectively, instead of just believing what you're being told on state run tv (which should already be a warning flag to most), isn't exactly hard, and yet they're not interested.

This isn't any different than those that choose to believe MAGA lies about stolen elections, or Q Anon nonsense. They're choosing to believe what isn't true, and supporting liars willfully.

Russians are not innocent. They are willing participants.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoldOnApple Avatar
17 weeks ago
I guess VK won't be replacing Facebook anytime soon.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ian87w Avatar
17 weeks ago
So the sanction is from the UK? Can Apple simply block the app on the UK app store? I mean if it's from the US government, then maybe it makes more sense. Does this mean the UK government can dictate what Apple have in the app store for other countries? Maybe someone can provide more details. Genuinely curious.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Expected Later This Year With These 7 Exclusive Features

Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:53 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least seven exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the seven features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
Mac mini M2 2023

New 256GB Mac Mini and 512GB MacBook Pro Have Slower SSD Speeds Than Previous Models

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:11 pm PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage. A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveals that the 256GB model is equipped with only a single 256GB storage chip, while the...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3

Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 16.3, the third major point update to the tvOS 16 operating system that originally came out in September. Available for the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, tvOS 16.3 comes six weeks after tvOS 16.2, an update that added Apple Music Sing. The tvOS 16.3 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ by going to System > Software...
watchOS 9 Feature

Apple Releases watchOS 9.3 With New Watch Face, Bug Fixes

Monday January 23, 2023 10:06 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 9.3, the third major update to the watchOS 9 operating system that first launched in September. watchOS 9.3 comes over a month after watchOS 9.2, an update that added new Workout functionality and Crash Detection optimizations. watchOS 9.3 can be downloaded for free through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by opening it up and going to General > Software Update. ...
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Pro Mac Mini

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
The new M2-series MacBook Pro and Mac mini models launched today, marking the debut of the first M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. We have the M2 Pro Mac mini on hand, and thought we'd take a look at the machine and do a series of benchmarks to see how it fits into Apple's lineup. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Base model Mac mini machines come with either an M2 or M2 Pro...
Ventura Macs Feature Blue

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.2

Monday January 23, 2023 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Ventura 13.2, the second major update to the macOS Ventura operating system initially released in October. macOS Ventura 13.2 comes more than a month after macOS Ventura 13.1, an update that added the Freeform app and other changes. The ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.2 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...