Ukraine has accused Apple of “mocking its pain” for labelling Crimea as part of Russia on its web applications.
“Let me explain in your terms, @Apple,” tweeted Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s foreign minister.
“Imagine you’re crying out that your design & ideas, years of work & piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy but then [somebody] ignorant doesn’t give a damn about your pain. That’s how it feels when you call Crimea a [Russian] land, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, wrote on Twitter.
Under pressure from the Russian authorities, several cities in Crimea, such as Simferopol or Sevastopol, appear as part of “Crimea, Russia” on Apple’s navigation and weather services when used in Russia. When the same services are used from other countries, the same cities do not have a defined country.
The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 – after a referendum that the Ukrainian government and Western countries deemed illegal – caused a breakdown in relations between Russia and the West, with the EU and US putting sanctions on Moscow as a result.
Apple’s decision to label Crimea as part of Russia has caused outrage in Ukraine, where social media users are calling for a boycott of the company’s products.
The BBC reported that Apple had been in talks with Russia for several months over how to display territories in Crimea. Apple has already made concessions to avoid problems in China, for example, withdrawing its map application from the app store in Hong Kong because it was being used by demonstrators to organise protests against the government.
On Chinese iPhones, emojis of the Taiwanese and Hong Kong flags have also been censored.