Google’s sanctions on paid apps in Russia now extend to Belarus

Google, which has imposed sanctions on paid apps in Russia since March, has now included Belarus as another sanctioned party. 

In March, Google paused Google Play’s billing system for users in Russia. As of May 5, 2022, Google Play has also started to block the download of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia.

The company has updated its article regarding the changes for users in Russia and has added Belarus as another sanctioned party. “As part of our compliance efforts, Google Play is blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia and Belarus,” the company said

Users in Russia and Belarus will still be able to download free apps and games from the Google Play store. 

Like users in Russia, users in Belarus will also see an error message when they attempt to buy an app or subscribe through Google Play’s billing system. In-app purchases or subscriptions within free apps are not blocked.

Developers in Belarus and Russia can still publish new free apps and update existing free apps. “Updates to paid apps are blocked for compliance reasons,” Google says.  

For developers who think that their apps provide a critical service that keeps them safe and provides access to information, Google suggests to offer their apps for free or to remove the paid subscription during this pause.

Written by Maya Robertson

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