Apple meets Ukrainian politician following Crimea Maps controversy

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Apple meets Ukrainian politician following Crimea Maps controversy
Vadym Prystaiko previously told Apple to stay out of politics.
Photo: Vadym Prystaiko/Twitter

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, met with Ukraine’s foreign minister at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This looks to be their first meeting after the recent controversy in which Apple displayed the annexed Crimea as Russian territory in two of its apps.

Vadym Prystaiko previously told Apple that it should stay out of politics, and stick to “high-tech and entertainment.”

Prystaiko tweeted a photo of himself with Jackson at Davos. The tweet said they were discussing Apple’s “next steps” in Crimea. A second tweet suggested that they also discussed the Maps and Weather app issue.

Ukrainian politician blasted Apple over Maps

Who has authority over Crimea has long been a contentious point. The Soviet government handed Crimea over to Ukraine in 1954. However, in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea following a referendum. Ukraine and the majority of international governments continue to regard Crimea as part of Ukraine.

In 2019, this issue wound up engulfing Apple. The company was asked to change Apple Maps and the Weather app to show Crimea as Russian territory. This controversial tweak only shows up when using the apps inside Russia. Nonetheless, the move caused an immediate outcry. A dozen members of the European Parliament sent letters to Apple protesting the decision.

Ukrainian politician Prystaiko was deeply critical of Apple over the Maps issue. In another tweet from the time, he wrote that:

“Let me explain in your terms, Apple. Imagine you’re crying that your design and ideas, years of work and piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy… That’s how it feels when you call Crimea a [Russian] land.”

In the aftermath, Apple said it would take a “deeper look at how we handle disputed borders.” It’s not clear exactly what was discussed by Jackson and Prystaiko during their Davos meeting. But, while probably an awkward meeting to have, it’s good to see Apple engage with these issues.

Source: Business Insider