Elena Volotovskaya, vice president for investments at Russian  IT company Softline, confirmed on Friday that it had been informed in writing by Microsoft and Amazon that Russian companies will be unable to access their cloud-based products from March 20.

According to the Russian RBC, Softline has warned its customers that the loss of access to the cloud might also involve functional restrictions in the operation of otherproducts and services provided by Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

Volotovskaya said Microsoft explained that its actions were a result of the 12th package of EU sanctions, number EU 833/2014, against Russia, which was adopted on Dec. 19, 2023. These placed restrictions on the supply of “certain management, business analytical or design software, including cloud solutions, to organizations registered in Russia” no later than March 20.

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Softline said it had established a dedicated Telegram channel for its clients, which will try to assist them in minimizing the impact on their businesses. It intends to provide frequent updates, guidance and possible work arounds obtained from vendors. It recommended that all users of Microsoft, Amazon and Google cloud services should back up its data as soon as possible.

Alexey Smirnov, general director of the company Base ALTSPO which developed the Russian “Alt” operating systemsaid:

“Those companies that had purchased subscriptions to Microsoft or other foreign service providers for data storagehad been short-sighted. There was always a risk of being cut off from access and now that has come true. This is a serious problem for those organizations that had avoided switching to domestic software and service providers.”

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Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft announced in March 2022 that it was suspending sales of its products and services in Russia. In August 2023, it made the decision to stop renewing subscriptions to the Microsoft 365 office suite due to EU and US sanctions.

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The head of Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Maksut Shadayev, said that in response to this, many users were switching to Russian Linux-based operating systems as an alternative to the US software.

An unnamed well-placed source from Russia’s IT community told RBC that a large number of Russian commercial companies had purchased Microsoft products rather than using subscription versions and claimed that one such entity had been told by Microsoft representatives that these products would not be impacted but declined to say which they were.

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