Apple said it would re-evaluate its controversial decision displaying Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula as part of Russia on maps and weather apps for Russian users, which has created dismay in Ukraine, AFP reported on Saturday, November 30th.
In the wake of the newly amended law in Russia, Apple had made changes to comply with Moscow’s demands, which would subsequently show Crimea as part of Russia for Russian users operating their phones from inside the country, but it had not made any changes to its maps outside of the country.
"We are going to study more carefully the question of designating disputed borders in our services," Apple said in a written statement to AFP, adding it could "adjust its approach."
Moscow has been exerting a high amount of pressure on foreign companies to recognise Crimea as a crucial part of its territory.
On Friday, November 29th, Ukraine harshly criticised Apple for referring to the annexed Crimean Peninsula as a Russian territory on its apps, citing the sensitivity of the issue for both countries since Kremlin-backed forces annexed the region from Ukraine in March 2014, according to CNBC news.
The problem erupted when Crimea and its largest cities Sevastopol and Simferopol were displayed on Wednesday, November 27th as Russian territory on Apple's apps when used in Russia. When seen from other countries, however, they appear as undefined.
According to an Apple spokesperson, current Russian legislation has demanded that "we update the plan for Russian users."
"We are looking at international legal norms as well as applicable US and local laws before taking any decision on possible changes of the Plans app. We will make those changes if they are required," the spokesperson added.
The controversial move by Apple is still considered a violation for other Western countries, citing the more than 13,000 lives lost in the separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine against the Russian seizure of the land.
US internet giant Google, for its part, does not attach any country name for Crimean cities in its geo-location services.
Ukraine and its Western allies have maintained that this move was illegal.
According to CNBC news, the US and European Union do not recognise Crimea as part of Russia and have imposed sanctions against individuals they believe have violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity.