UK adds two Russian chipmakers to its growing sanctions list

9 May 2022

Image: © Thicha/Stock.adobe.com

Russia continues to feel international pressure amid its invasion of Ukraine, with 63 new additions to the UK’s sanctions list.

The UK has added two of Russia’s most prominent chipmakers, Baikal Electronics and the Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies (MCST), to its sanctions list. This will likely deny the companies access to processor architecture from Arm, which is based in the UK.

The UK’s sanction list was updated on 4 May with 63 new individuals and entities added, which are now subject to an asset freeze. It is a criminal offence for companies not to comply with the financial sanctions legislation.

Future Human

According to the notice published by the UK Treasury last week, the purpose of these sanctions is “to encourage Russia to cease actions destabilising Ukraine or undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine”.

BleepingComputer reports that Baikal and MCST are considered vital for Russia’s technological independence efforts and their processors could keep vital parts of the Russian IT sector going during shortages.

Google Play

Meanwhile, Google has taken further measures against Russia in response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Users in Russia are no longer able to download or update paid Android apps from the Google Play store. Users can still download free apps and are able to continue accessing paid apps that were previously purchased.

Subscriptions on Google Play will continue until the end of the current billing period, but will not be able to be renewed after this point.

These new measures follow the tech giant’s decision to pause Google Play’s billing system for users in Russia on 10 March due to sanctions imposed on the country. This prevented users from purchasing apps and games, making subscription payments or conducting purchases of digital goods within apps.

In February, Google banned Russian state-sponsored news app RT from its Play store in Ukraine to help curb misinformation around the invasion, before going on to block apps related to RT and Sputnik from its Play store in Europe.

At the beginning of March, Google also announced that it stopped selling online advertising in Russia, which applied to ads on Search, YouTube and outside publishing partners.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com