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Apple set to examine Crimea map controversy

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Apple promised to revisit its controversial Crimea decision (AFP Photo/STRINGER)

Apple set to examine Crimea map controversy

Apple said on Saturday 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 that Apple had complied with a Kremlin demand 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, adding it could “adjust its approach”.

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

Crimea and its largest cities Sevastopol and Simferopol have been displayed as Russian territory on Apple’s apps when used in Russia.

When seen from other countries they appear as undefined.

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. 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.

The Ukrainian embassy in the US tweeted: “We guess Ukrainians [are] not giving any thanks to @Apple this #Thanksgiving!”

“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,” former chess champion and outspoken Vladimir Putin critic Garry Kasparov wrote on Twitter.

Russia and Apple had been in talks over the past few months, with the company offering to show Crimea as an undefined territory and remove any mention of Ukraine.

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

“[Trump] should follow Apple’s example and take the only correct and lawful decision to recognise Crimea’s status as Russian,” Crimean lawmaker Alexei Chernyak said.

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