The war in Ukraine will soon also prevent Russian Android developers from getting paid for their work. Google said that as part of sanctions from the West, users will no longer be able to pay for and update commercial Android apps created by Russian developers.
In an announcement posted on the Play Console website, Google stated that as part of its “compliance efforts”, Google Play began blocking downloads and updates to paid apps in Russia from May 5, 2022.
However, free apps are not included in this rule, meaning users can continue to download and update free apps. Google said that commercial apps will be automatically blocked.
In the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list attached to the announcement, the company says that commercial apps will be available to download and use as developers offer grace periods and free trials for new users. Google states that delaying payment renewals for up to one year is also an option, as it will allow users to continue using the apps without paying. “You can choose to offer your app for free or remove paid subscriptions during this pause,” says Google.
This decision comes exactly two months after Google paused the Google Play billing system in the country. On March 10, as part of Western sanctions against Russia, people were prevented from purchasing apps, paying for subscriptions, or making in-app purchases.
About two weeks later, Russia responded by banning Google News in the country and blocking access to “news.google.com”.
Western countries are imposing severe sanctions against Russia for invading its southwestern neighbor Ukraine. The country’s banks have been removed from the SWIFT payment network and services like Apple Pay or Google Pay. Most of the big technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and others have also decided to withdraw from the country.