More payment and tech companies block Crimean customers

Apple and Valve are the latest companies to cut off services to Crimea, while PayPal today stopped serving the region’s internet customers.

This follows the decision of Visa and MasterCard in December to stop dealing with banks in the contested region, ending the issue and servicing of payment cards.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, part of Ukraine, one year ago has caused major international upheaval, breaking down trade and financial relationships between the West and Russia, and contributing to a collapse of the value of the rouble, Russia’s currency.

Last year, the US introduced a slew of sanctions that ban the export of US goods, technology, sales and services to Crimea, and preventing technology developed there from being sold in the US. The video game company Valve has put in measures to prevent Crimeans from purchasing online games from its digital distribution network, while Apple has now formally blacklisted the region and has banned Crimean developers from developing iOS apps.

According to Venture Beat, however, developers in the area are seeking to circumvent the ban by registering their accounts to different locations and using non-Crimean IP addresses to mask their origin.

Natalya Burykina, head of Russia’s financial markets committee, said that plastic payment cards had not been working in Crimea since March, although MasterCard has negotiated a deal with the Russian authorities to continue processing card transactions in Russia itself.


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