Microsoft to suspend all sales and services in Russia

Microsoft has announced that it is suspending all new sales of its products and services in Russia.

In a blog post on Friday, the company said: “Like the rest of the world, we are horrified, angered and saddened by the images and news coming from the war in Ukraine and condemn this unjustified, unprovoked and unlawful invasion by Russia.”

Microsoft said “many aspects of our business” were being stopped in compliance with governmental sanctions on Russia and that it was “working in lockstep with the governments of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom”.

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Microsoft’s decision follows the Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Federov writing a letter to Xbox and PlayStation to block Russian and Belarusian gamers in order to pressure the Kremlin.

It is not clear what impact the ban of new sales of products and services will have for ongoing services in Russia such as Xbox Live.

Brad Smith, the company’s president and vice chair, said the company has been and will continue to detect and advise the Ukrainian government about cyber attacks targeting the country’s digital infrastructure.

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“We continue to work proactively to help cybersecurity officials in Ukraine defend against Russian attacks, including most recently a cyberattack against a major Ukrainian broadcaster,” the blog stated.

“Since the war began, we have acted against Russian positioning, destructive or disruptive measures against more than 20 Ukrainian government, IT and financial sector organisations.

“We have also acted against cyberattacks targeting several additional civilian sites. We have publicly raised our concerns that these attacks against civilians violate the Geneva Convention,” it said.

Read more: How are the big tech companies responding to the invasion of Ukraine?

The company had already removed the RT news apps from the Windows App Store and de-ranked RT and Sputnik on its search engine Bing.

Mr Smith said Microsoft had teams teams working with the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as “multiple UN agencies to help refugees by providing technology and financial support for key NGOs”.

“Where needed, we are defending these groups from ongoing cyberattacks,” the blog post added.

“As a company, we are committed to the safety of our employees in Ukraine and we are in constant contact with them to offer support in many forms, including those who have needed to flee for their lives or safety.

“Like so many others, we stand with Ukraine in calling for the restoration of peace, respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and the protection of its people.”

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