Google has joined several tech companies by blocking services and payments in the Crimea. This is in compliance with Executive Order 13685, which blocks certain transactions in the Crimea region of Ukraine. This also brings Google into compliance with European Union sanctions which are similar to U.S. sanctions against the region.
Several reports from inside Russia have stated that thus far, AdSense and AdWords accounts, have been blocked. It is also being reported that Google Play services will come to a halt on the first of February. Google, as well as other companies, is unable to provide paid services due to the sanctions as banks have cut off payments and transactions to the region. This is why services such as AdSense and AdWords and paid content on the play store have been cut off. Google like other companies operating in the region is unable to make or collect payments. The sanctions will also cause the shutdown of free applications on Google Play Store because loading software is considered an export which the sanctions ban. This will not have an impact on other Google services. Google search, Gmail, Google+, and Google Maps will continue to provide content as per normal for the region. Google is not alone either, as Apple, PayPal, as well as a host of other companies have recently cut payments to Crimea as well. Given the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union, more are sure to follow.
It is unclear how long these sanctions will last. That is up to the leaders of Russia, The United States, and the European Union. It is a safe bet this will last a long time. Until then, those living in the region will have to wait for things to change to get back on track in terms of tech and payments. Given the escalation in Crimea, I am sure downloading the latest app isn’t at the forefront of their mind. This will no doubt harm the tech sector in the region, because a lot of money has been spent in the area to enhance its tech capabilities and offerings with Crimea leading the way with their Sevastopol Tech City. We can only hope that the political issues facing Crimea will come to an end peacefully so that the region can get back to forging its future in the tech world.