Ukraine asks Apple, Google to block Russia as Western biz caught in dilemma

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With Russian forces closing in on the capital city of Kiev, has pleaded with US technology giants and to restrict Russia from their products and services, including the former’s GPay and the latter’s App Store.

In an official letter posted to his Twitter account, vice president Mykhailo Fedorov said: “We need your support – in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers and missiles.”

“I’ve addressed to stop supplying services and products to Russian Federation. Including blocking access to Google market and Google Pay,” he later tweeted seperately.

Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for a third day running and Russia’s Interfax news agency said they had captured the southeastern city of Melitopol. Ukrainian officials were not immediately available to comment on the fate of Melitopol and Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey cast doubt on the report, saying the city of some 150,000 people was still in Ukrainian hands.

Some Western severed their ties with Russia on Friday, and others studied whether and how to do so, as President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of triggered sanctions and pressure to abandon some business dealings.

European sports and entertainment businesses were among the first to announce such moves.

Premier League club Manchester United withdrew the sponsorship rights of Russian airline Aeroflot, Formula One canceled the 2022 Russian Grand Prix, and organizers of the Eurovision song contest said Russia would not be allowed to participate in this year’s final.

The “inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s (Eurovision) contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” the European Broadcasting Union said in a statement.

Gadget maker Dell Technologies Inc said it suspended sales in Ukraine and Russia and would closely monitor the situation to determine next steps. New US rules on exports to Russia announced on Thursday covered computers, and Dell accounted for about 6% of computer shipments to Russia last quarter, according to researcher IDC.

US carrier Delta Air Lines Inc said, without providing a reason, that it had suspended its codesharing service with Aeroflot.

Marketing consultant Dan Sondhelm said were trying to balance the reputational risk of continuing to deal with Moscow with their economic interests and concerns about upsetting some of their investors.

“It will take some time for to make their decisions to act or do nothing,” Sondhelm said. “It doesn’t happen overnight.”

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