Russia’s federal communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, demanded answers Wednesday as to why applications operated by the Russian state-controlled tech firm VK had been targeted by the U.S. tech giant.
According to Apple, the move was not a matter of politics but rather a step taken to ensure it was in compliance with sanctions enforced by the U.K., reported Reuters.
VK operates a Facebook-like social media platform known as Vkontakte with more than 75 million monthly users along with Mail.ru.
Apple reportedly said both apps were distributed by developers that are majority-owned or majority-controlled by parties sanctioned by the U.K.
VK CEO Vladimir Kiriyenko is reportedly under U.K. sanctions along with Sergei Kiriyenko, his father, who serves as President Vladimir Putin's first deputy chief of staff.
Roskomnadzor on Wednesday called the restrictions "discriminatory" and claimed that the move violated "millions" of users' right to free information and communication through the internet.
Russia has already limited user communication freedoms by blocking U.S. social media companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Both Vkontakte and Mail.ru must be previously downloaded on smartphones at the time of purchase so users who already have access to the apps devices where they were previously installed will be able to keep using them.
The newest restrictions will only apply to those who purchase new phones, reported Reuters.
Apple has already removed several sites from its stores, including the airline Aeroflot and top banks like Sberbank and VTB following Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
FOX Business could not immediately reach Apple Inc.