More sides continue to emerge as Russia shows no sign of going back on its decision on Ukraine. Ukraine’s tech minister has appealed to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook to take a side with Ukraine on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis. The minister has requested that Russia be cut off from Apple services and products.
In a tweet by Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhalio Fedorov, along with a purported copy of his official request directly to Cook requested Apple’s CEO to block Russians from Apple Store and also support the US government sanctions on the country. Fedorov believes the move will drive young Russians and active citizens to actively take action and resist its president on the shameful resolve on Ukraine. He wrote that “In 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers (hrad) and missiles.”
Apple is yet to respond and commit to what the Ukrainian Prime Minister is seeking, the spotlight remains on Apple for its decision. But in an acknowledgement tweet by Cook, he expresses his dissatisfaction about the happenings in Ukraine, however didn’t touch on the Ukrainian technology minister’s appeal. According to David Kaye, UC Irvine Law Professor and former UN Special Rapporteur on free speech in a response tweet to Fedorov slightly disagrees as cutting off Russians from accessing the App Store might not stop them from communicating. He wrote, “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…” Others have gone on to discuss that though the intention sounds good and fair the approach could affect the human rights of Russian citizens in general.
Although this marks Ukraine’s first official request that a tech company take action in response to the Russian invasion. Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhalio Fedorov have gone ahead address other giants in the tech industry to join its course. He has addressed Google, to shut down Russian access to its services and markets, Netflix – to block Russian access and Content on its platform, Meta – to block Russian access to its social platforms, YouTube – to block certain Russian Channels who can’t say the truth and are now focused on spreading lies and propaganda. The prime minister strongly believes that if all these information channels are shut down in Russia, youths and smart people will rise to the occasion and call their president to a standstill. According to reports emerging, US carriers have begun waiving international and long-distance call fees for those attempting to contact others in Ukraine.
Although a number of persons have tweeted in response to Ukraine’s Prime Minister. Some of the tweets didn’t fail to address the Prime Minister’s call on giant tech to shut down Russian access to their platform as extreme and forceful but others consider it as a measure better than doing nothing. Others suggest that the Ukrainian government need to consider other ways to defend itself with technology, to protect its infrastructure and also spy on Russian military movements.
Concerning the sanctions unveiled by the US President, Ukraine’s tech minister has voiced support for these sanctions. Hours into the attack the US President Biden in a press briefing unveiled several rounds of sanctions against Russia as payback for its Ukrainian invasion. The sanctions began with cutting off major Russian banks and businesses from western markets and limiting tech exports to the country. The subject of kicking Russia out of the SWIFT financial system is still on the table of discussion waiting to be agreed upon. Not just Tim Cook, a number of industry leaders including Richard Branson have responded to the Ukraine crisis. Richard Branson sympathized with Ukraine and calls on the full range of sanctions to be imposed on Russia for its unprovoked act of aggression.