Apple changes maps to label Crimea as Russian
Russian MPs announced Apple had agreed to the demands in the lower parliament, the State Duma.
Crimea, which Russia illegally occupied in 2014, is now displayed as Russian territory on Apple maps and weather apps when used in Russia.
Most of the international community, including the European Union and the United States, does not recognise the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Moscow regards the naval city of Savastopol as a separate region.
Ukraine has denounced Apple.
“Let me explain in your terms, Apple,” tweeted Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko.
“Imagine you’re crying out that your design and ideas, years of work and piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy but then smb [sic] ignorant doesn’t give a damn about your pain. That’s how it feels when you call Crimea a [Russian] land.”
Russia and Apple have held talks over the last few months as the tech firm hoped to show Crimea as an undefined territory with no mention of Ukraine.
Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of State Duma security committee, held talks with Apple’s representative in Russia, Darya Yermolina.
Piskaryov said Russia was ready for “dialogue and constructive cooperation with foreign companies”, stressing that the government would remain vigilant.
MPs would monitor “issues concerning the protection of the Russian constitution and our country’s sovereignty from outside interference”, Piskaryov said in a statement.
The BBC said it did not show Crimea as part of Russia on its maps but showed a dotted line to mark disputed territory.
Google’s maps do not identify Crimea as belonging to either Russia or Ukraine.
It uses Russian spellings for Crimean towns on its maps in Russia and shows a line where Ukrainian control ends.
Former world chess champion Gary Kasparov said Apple’s decision was “a huge scandal”.
“Software is soft power. American tech companies should stand up for the values of innovation that made their success possible, not bow down to dictators for a little extra cash they don’t even need. Call Putin’s bluff,” tweeted Kasparov, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The loss of Crimea was a heavy blow for Ukrainians. Shortly after the peninsula was annexed in early 2014, a separate conflict broke out in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions when separatists moved against the Ukrainian state.
Last month, Apple was criticised for a mapping app in its app store that allowed Hong Kong protesters to track police deployments.
Crimea in 2014. Picture credit: Wikimedia