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Mass media watchdog wants Apple to explain why it removed Russian apps from App Store

Earlier on Wednesday, the Verge portal reported that Apple had removed the iOS apps belonging to VK

MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia’s mass media watchdog Roscomnadzor has demanded Apple clarify the reasons for the removal of VK and other Russian companies' applications from the App Store, the agency reported on its website on Wednesday.

"Roskomnadzor demanded that the leadership of Apple Inc. explain why it removed VK applications from the App Store. As a result of such actions by the American corporation, millions of Russian users are now unable to use the social network VKontakte and other applications, including: VK Music, VK Clips, VK Messenger, VK Admin,," the statement says.

As the watchdog explained, the VKontakte social network is included on the list of socially significant information resources with free access in Russia. Also, the VKontakte and apps are included on the list of the Ministry of Digital Development of the Russian Federation and are subject to mandatory pre-installation on mobile devices. Apple's restrictions violate the rights of Russian Internet users to freely receive information and communicate, which is unacceptable, the watchdog says.

The agency also asks the company to clarify the reasons for the removal of the applications of the Russian companies Domclick, Yula, 2GIS, Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, VTB, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank, Otkritie, Novikombank, Aeroflot and Utair.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Verge portal reported that Apple had removed the iOS apps belonging to VK, the technology conglomerate behind Russia's version of Facebook VKontakte, from its App Store globally. In response to an inquiry by the Verge, Apple spokesperson Adam Dema confirmed that VK’s apps have been removed and its developer accounts shut down.

"These 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," Dema said, as quoted by the Verge.