Apple to ‘carefully’ examine Crimea map controversy

Agence France-Presse
'We are going to study more carefully the question of designating disputed borders in our services,' Apple says

CRIMEA. An illustration picture taken on November 28, 2019 in Moscow shows an Apple map with the Crimea peninsula on a smartphone screen. AFP photo

MOSCOW, Russia – Apple said on Saturday, November 30, it was going to “carefully” examine its controversial decision to show the annexed Crimea peninsula as part of Russia on maps and weather apps which has caused an outcry in Ukraine.

Russian lawmakers said on Wednesday, November 27, that Apple had complied with a demand from Moscow for Crimea to appear as Russian territory on its maps and weather apps.

“We are going to study more carefully the question of designating disputed borders in our services,” Apple said in a written statement to Agence France-Presse, adding it could “adjust its approach”.

Moscow has been putting pressure on foreign companies to recognize the Black Sea peninsula as an integral part of its territory.

Crimea and its largest cities Sevastopol and Simferopol have since Wednesday been displayed as Russian territory on Apple’s apps when used in Russia. When seen from other countries they appear as undefined.

In the statement, Apple said it had not made any changes to the map of Crimea outside Russia on its Plans app.

But current Russian legislation demanded that “we update the plan for Russian users”, it said.

“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.”

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.

Ukraine lashed out at Apple this week, saying the US tech giant did not “give a damn” about the pain of the Ukrainian people.

“@Apple, please, please, stick to high-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko wrote on Twitter.

Several Russian media published headlines Thursday saying that “Apple recognizes that the Crimea is Russian”.

US internet giant Google, for its part, does not attach any country name for Crimean cities in its geolocation services. – Rappler.com