World / Politics

Under pressure, Apple shows annexed Crimea as Russia on apps

AFP-Jiji

U.S. tech giant Apple has complied with Moscow’s demands to show Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as Russian territory on its apps, lawmakers said Wednesday.

The Black Sea peninsula and its largest cities of Sevastopol and Simferopol are now displayed as Russian territory on Apple’s maps and weather apps when used in Russia.

Crimea does not appear to be part of any country when these apps are used in France.

“Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory,” parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, said in a statement. Russia treats the naval port city of Savastopol as a separate region.

Russia and Apple had been in talks over the last few months, with the U.S. giant initially trying to show Crimea as undefined territory and removing any mention of Ukraine.

The State Duma released a statement following a meeting between Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of State Duma security and anti-corruption committee, and Apple’s Russia representative, Darya Yermolina.

In the statement, Piskaryov praised the U.S. company, saying it had complied with the Russian Constitution.

He said Russia was open for “dialogue and constructive cooperation with foreign companies,” stressing however that Russian authorities would remain vigilant.

Russian lawmakers will monitor “issues concerning the protection of the Russian constitution and our country’s sovereignty from outside interference,” Piskaryov added.

Apple did not immediately release a comment on Wednesday.

Another global tech giant, Google, does not identify Crimea as belonging to either Russia or Ukraine on its maps.

It however uses the Russian, rather than Ukrainian, spelling of Crimean place names on its maps in Russia, as well as drawing a line to show the de facto border dividing Crimea from the rest of Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by most of the global community. The seizure of the peninsula helped spark a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine that has claimed more than 13,000 lives so far.