Should US tech companies intervene to discourage Russia from invading Ukraine? On Friday, a deputy prime minister of Ukraine asked Apple to do the same.
“I have contacted Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, to block the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation and support the US government sanctions package,” tweeted Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.
The tweet included a photo of Fedorov, an official letter sent to Apple’s CEO urging him to stop offering all company products and services in Russia, including the iOS App Store. The goal is to create public unrest and prompt the Russian people to demand their government to call off the invasion of Ukraine.
“The whole world is pushing the aggressor by imposing sanctions – the enemy should incur significant losses. But we need your support,” wrote Fedorov to the Apple CEO. “In 2022, modern technology is probably the best answer to tanks, multiple rocket launchers (HRDs) and missiles.”
He then added: “We are sure that such actions will motivate the youth and active population of Russia to stop a humiliating military offensive.”
The letter comes a day after the White House took massive action sanctions Against Russia for the invasion. The sanctions are designed to cripple the country’s banking system and block some US technology exports, including software, into the country. However, export controls primarily target the Russian defence, aerospace and maritime sectors, not the Russian consumer market. A carving was also done for “consumer communication devices”.
As of now, Apple has not commented on the letter. But on social media, there is growing demand for US tech companies to take a stand against Russia, whether it’s combating online propaganda or pressuring the Kremlin to stop an invasion. PCMag’s own Sasha Segan wrote a column explaining why the US and its allies should consider cutting Russia off from the rest of the Internet.
Meanwhile, Apple’s CEO has only publicly stated that he is “deeply concerned” by the conflict in Ukraine. “We are doing everything we can for our teams there and will support local humanitarian efforts. I am thinking of those who are at a loss right now and joining those calling for peace,” Cook wrote a Tweet Tomorrow.