Ukrainian official urges Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix and Meta’s Twitter to stop doing business with Russia

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Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said on Twitter on Friday that he had asked Apple Inc. chief executive Tim Cook to stop doing business with Russia and its citizens, including cutting off that country’s access to the App Store. On Saturday, he tweeted and his office confirmed that he had asked other tech giants to do the same.

Mykhailo Fedorov, whose Twitter biography says he is also Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, tweeted from a verified account on Friday that he had sent a letter pleading with Cook to support Ukraine as it was attacked by Russia, saying “in 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to tanks, multiple rocket launchers and missiles.

Additionally, Fedorov tweeted, and his office confirmed, that he sent similar letters to Meta Platforms FB, Alphabet GOOGL GOOG, Netflix NFLX, and Twitter TWTR.

On Saturday, Fedorov’s office said in response to a request for comment from MarketWatch that the letter was authentic: “We are not hacked. This is the official position and the messages we want to share.

Fedorov’s office also said (and he tweeted) that Twitter “agreed to block registration of new accounts in the Russian Federation. Important for winning the information war and countering Russian propaganda.

A Twitter spokeswoman, however, said on Saturday that the company “has not restricted access to or registration for our service.” She also said Twitter was aware it was restricted in Russia, but was working to keep its service accessible. Fedorov’s office has yet to comment on Twitter’s denial of his claim.

In another tweet, Fedorov said, “Our goal is not to block news sources for Russians, but to engage young, proactive, smart people.”

Meta, Alphabet and Netflix and did not return requests for comment on Saturday.

In the letter to Apple, which Fedorov attached to his Tweeterhe asked the CEO to “stop providing Apple services and products to the Russian Federation, including blocking access to the App Store!”

AppleAAPL,
+1.30%
did not return a request for comment on Fedorov’s request on Friday. Cook tweeted on Thursday that he was “deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine. We are doing all we can for our teams there and will support local humanitarian efforts.

The Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister’s demands come as the United States announced sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine this week. President Joe Biden’s administration said Thursday that those sanctions include removing “more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports,” such as semiconductors, telecommunications, encryption security, navigation technology, etc Fedorov’s tweet urged Cook to “support the US government’s sanctions package!”

On Friday, the Biden administration said it would directly sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and members of Russia’s national security team.

According to the most recent data from Statista, the Russian subsidiary of Apple achieved a turnover of 260 billion rubles in 2020, the equivalent of 3.1 billion dollars. Apple’s jobs website lists job vacancies in Russia, with some ads posted in the past week.

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