Apple Needs to Suspend Sales to Russia

sanctions against russia

As the third day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolds, it’s clear that economic sanctions aren’t having any effect yet. Ukrainian government officials have called on businesses, including Apple and others in the tech industry, to impose their own sanctions. This may have the impact diplomacy among nations isn’t, so maybe Apple should suspend all sales to Russia.

Apple’s Digital Wallet Already Restricted

Since U.S. and other sanctions are already restricting financial transactions to Russian banks, digital wallets like Apple Pay have been suspended in the country. Customers of Russian banks cannot use their cards abroad or to make payments to companies registered in countries that have issued sanctions.

This might encourage some Russian citizens and businesses to oppose what their country is trying to do in Ukraine. Hitting people where they live, their pocketbooks and ability to conduct “business as usual,” can be a strong motivator.

It needs to go one step further.

Suspend Apple’s Retail Business With Russia Entirely

The Cupertino-based company has an online retail store for Russia, as well as a dedicated App Store. Recently, Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov called on Apple to impose its own additional sanctions on the Russian Federation.

Apple Needs to Suspend Sales to Russia

Federov, in an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, asked the tech giant to “do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe and, finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression”.

Specifically, the leader asked Cupertino to stop selling its products and services to the Russian Federation. This would include hardware sales, services like iCloud and Apple Music, and even the App Store itself.

Mobilize the Youth to Call For an End to the Invasion

Such a move would, Federov believes, motivate the youth and other active members of Russia’s population to stand up against the country’s aggression. Small pockets of protest have already appeared, but maybe cutting the country off from the tech it loves would prompt more resistance.

Intel, Dell, Lenovo, and others have already suspended sales in Russia. This may be, at least in part, because sanctions prohibit selling some high-tech products to the country. Even so, taking these “reverse boycotts” even further will dampen the spirits of Russia’s population. Perhaps they can persuade their “elected” president to end the brutal aggression towards Ukrainian sovereignty.

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I agree. But not just Apple. All tech needs to shut off Russia. Apple, Google, all the major handset mfgs, Cisco, Dell, HP, everyone. I suspect, as I posted on another article earlier, that Apple and likely others are hoping that the US govt will enact trade restrictions so they can cut Russia off without getting the blame for it.


Lenovo surprises me. I thought they were Chinese owned and China has been trying to stay neutral as much as possible.


While I agree in principle, the App Store should remain available on a limited basis to allow Russians to download apps that Putin doesn’t like: Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, VPN clients, etc.

John Kheit

Kudos Jeff, nice writeup and appreciate the guts it took to put that out!