Apple has removed VKontakte, a top Russian social media platform, from its app store, according to the app’s developer.
Apple’s decision also affects other iOS apps produced by VKontakte’s parent, the technology giant VK, according to a blog post Tuesday by the company.
“Now some VK applications are blocked by Apple, so they are not available for download and update in the App Store,” VK wrote in the blog post. Existing installations of those apps should continue to function normally, VK added.
VK apps provide a range of services including email, food delivery and digital payments. It is the fifth-largest website by traffic in Russia, by some estimates. The company’s social network has 97 million monthly users worldwide, while its email service, Mail.ru, has 46 million users within Russia.
In a statement to The Verge, which first reported the removals, Apple said the decision aims to comply with newly imposed UK sanctions against Russia. The UK government on Monday had said it was targeting dozens of Russian elites in response to Russia’s “illegal sham referendums in Ukraine” that claimed to show support for Ukraine’s integration with Russia.
Apple told The Verge 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. Users who have already downloaded these apps may continue to use them.”
Earlier this year in response to the war in Ukraine, Apple stopped selling new products in Russia, clamped down on Apple Pay and removed state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik from its app stores outside of Russia.
CNN has reached out to Apple for comment.