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As major nations of the world struggle against each other, tech companies get dragged into the fight. In response to recent sanctions by both the United States and the European Union against Russia, Apple has removed all apps from the App Store that were developed by people based in Crimea. The sanctions are based on an executive order, signed by President Barack Obama in December. Among the provisions of the order, it specifically bans the importation of goods, services and technology originating in Crimea into the United States. Phone apps are considered to be part of the ban.

In response to these sanctions, any developers whose account were registered with a location in Crimea had their apps removed from the store, and had their access to the developer portal blocked. Apple sent the following note to these developer to explain the situation,

“This letter Serves as Notice of termination of the Registered Apple Developer Agreement (the “Agreement RAD”) Between you and Apple, Effective immediately.

Apple May terminate your Status as Registered Apple Developer A at Any time at ITS Sole Discretion Under the RAD Agreement. The new sanctions on the Crimea Region announced by the US Government on December 19, 2014 and announced by the European Commission on December 18, 2014 prohibit the continuation of the RAD Agreement between you and Apple. For more information, please review Executive Order 13685 and the European Commission Notice.

We Would like to remind you of your Obligations with regard to software and All Other Confidential information you That Obtained from Apple as A Registered Apple Developer. You must promptly Cease All use of and destroy such materials and Comply with All the Other Obligations set forth termination in the RAD Agreement.”

Apple is not the only tech company taking measures to accommodate the sanctions. The incredibly popular digital distribution platform, Steam, has cut off Crimean residents from using its store. Users in Crimea have posted reports and screenshots showing that they are unable to complete their purchases on the Steam platform due to US trade restrictions.

Do you think these sanctions will have any effect on Russian policy? How do you think this will this effect developers in the region? Leave your comments below.


Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.



  • dfkt

    That’s a heartwarming way to say, “We’re sorry to see you go.”

    Apple, you’re treating people like shit – the ones that make your app store what it is.

  • Nick

    it’s not really apple’s fault, it’s the US gov’s fault for issuing a law banning trade with crimea.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    I’m not a fan of policies that don’t target specific behavior. There is no way to know where devs fall just because their address is in Crimea.

    Short of western military intervention or actual sanctions (good luck) nothing is going to get Putin’s Russia to back down from its aggressive policies. It is a fact that Russia has hired the Crimean insurgents.

    This is how our country impotently sabre-rattles.

  • Alex

    mmm… well then screw you apple…

  • draconian139

    This is why we need major alternatives based in countries other than the US.

  • dfkt

    Sure, but the letter quoted above is really awful. Apple could have sent something more ‘human’ to these developers.

  • Nick

    The letter doesn’t seem that awful to me, and it’s clearly gone through a translator so not all of the original meaning may be intact.

  • Nick

    Well, it couldn’t have been in the EU either, so that leaves basically a Chinese or Russian company, and I’m not sure many of us would want to make one of those a major distributor.

  • draconian139

    I’d prefer somewhere like Switzerland personally.