Apple has removed the Russian social media app ‘VK’ from its App Store across the globe. The removal also impacts VK Music.
The VKontakte app is no longer available for download from any App Store. The VK apps installed on devices before this removal will continue to work. However, Apple says users may experience issues with payments and notifications.
VK addressed the removal directly on its blog, saying they will continue to develop iOS versions. However, they did not elaborate on how these apps will be distributed without access to the App Store. “VK will continue to develop and support applications for iOS,” the post reads. “Our experts do everything to maintain and continue to improve user comfort.”
An Apple spokesperson told The Verge that the VK apps were removed to comply with the U.K’s sanctions on Russian companies.
“These apps are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government,” the spokesperson says. “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 VK app is still available on the Google Play Store at the time of writing. TechCrunch has reached out to ask Google if they will remove the app–but there was no reply. The removal for Apple comes as the UK imposed 92 sanctions on Russia for ‘sham referendums’ in four regions of Ukraine. Sanctions were against individuals and executives from Russian companies like Gazprombank and VK.
Also, hit in the removal was VK Music, a music streaming service launched back in 2016. The app launched with agreements from Sony Music and Warner Music, and several local Russian publishers. Notably missing from the Big Three was Universal Music Group. Sony Music Group has since exited its Russian operations completely. Both Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group suspended their Russian offices and operations.