Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov has asked Apple CEO Tim Cook to block Russian citizens from accessing the App Store amid the ongoing invasion.
Fedorov tweeted a purported copy of an official request to Cook, writing that “modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers (hrad) and missiles.”
I’ve contacted @tim_cook, Apple’s CEO, to block the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation, and to support the package of US government sanctions! If you agree to have the president-killer, then you will have to be satisfied with the only available site Russia 24. pic.twitter.com/b5dm78g2vS
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 25, 2022
Fedorov also appeals to Russia’s youth and active population to resist the invasion. However, it’s possible that restricting App Store access could block Russian citizens from apps and services used to coordinate resistance.
i very much sympathize with the instinct but wonder how cutting off russian citizens’ access to the app store would affect their ability to communicate, protest, organize, use VPNs… https://t.co/drhkWvLwOP
— David Kaye (@davidakaye) February 25, 2022
The request comes as Canada, the U.S., and others impose sanctions on Russia over the invasion. Additionally, several Canadian carriers have waived long-distance charges for people calling Ukraine.
CNET notes that Ukraine appears to be trying various technology-based defences, including reportedly recruiting its hacker community to protect infrastructure and report on Russian military movements.