Apple has removed VKontakte, one of Russia’s most popular social media platforms, from its app store, the app’s developer has confirmed.

“Now some VK applications are blocked by Apple, so they are not available for download and update in the App Store,” VK said in a statement on Tuesday, Sep. 27, whilst claiming that existing installations of their apps should continue to function.

The move by Apple affects other iOS apps owned by VKontakte’s parent company, VK, including apps providing email, digital payments, and food delivery services.

VKontakte has over 97 million monthly users worldwide, and has seen rising user numbers since Russia officially banned its citizens from using social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


In a statement to The Verge, Apple said the decision was made to comply with newly-imposed UK sanctions against Russia in light of its ongoing brutal invasion of Ukraine, and added that VK’s apps “are being distributed by developers majority-owned or majority-controlled by one or more parties sanctioned by the UK government.

“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,” it added.

In March, following the instigation of the Kremlin’s invasion one month prior, Apple announced that it had stopped selling any of its new products in Russia, and had removed Russian state-backed propaganda news outlets RT and Sputnik from its app stores outside of Russia.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 19, 2024
Other Topics of Interest

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 19, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, a firm supporter of Ukraine, sent an email to all Apple employees following the decision, writing:

“With each new image of families fleeing their homes and brave citizens fighting for their lives, we see how important it is for people around the world to come together to advance the cause of peace.

“Apple is donating to humanitarian relief efforts and providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis. We are also working with partners to assess what more we can do.


We have paused all product sales in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country.

“Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia. And we have disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens.”

Cook added: “This moment calls for unity, it calls for courage, and it reminds us that we must never lose sight of the humanity we all share. In these difficult times, I take comfort in knowing that we are united in our commitment to each other, to our users, and to being a force for good in the world.”

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter