November 27, 2019 / 5:02 PM / 13 days ago

Apple shows annexed Crimea as part of Russia -- for Russian users

MOSCOW, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Apple has started displaying Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, as Russian territory in its Maps and Weather apps -- but only for users within Russia.

Russia and Ukraine have both been highly sensitive to the way global companies identify Crimea, since Russian troops seized the territory and Moscow annexed it after a referendum that Kiev and its Western allies say was illegal.

Reuters reporters inside Russia who typed the name of the provincial capital Simferopol into Apple's Maps and Weather apps on Wednesday saw it displayed as "Simferopol, Crimea, Russia". Reporters in other countries saw the city displayed simply as "Simferopol" without specifying which country it belongs to.

In both the Ukrainian capital Kiev and in Crimea itself, users contacted by Reuters saw Crimean locations displayed without identifying the country.

Apple's Russia division did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The EU and United States do not recognise Crimea as Russian and have imposed sanctions against the peninsula and individuals they accuse of violating Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, reported on Wednesday that the head of the committee on security and anti-corruption, Vasily Piskaryov, had held a meeting with an Apple representative.

According to a report on the State Duma website, Piskaryov said: "Apple has fulfilled its obligations and brought the programmes on its devices in line with the requirements of Russian law." (Reporting Nadezhda Tsydenova and Anton Zverev Writing by Alexander Marrow Editing by Peter Graff)

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