Kremlin asks Russian officials to stop using iPhones by end of March: Report
Russian officials involved in preparations for the 2024 presidential election were asked by the Kremlin to stop using Apple iPhones by the end of March, reported the country's newspaper Kommersant on Monday. The order stems from concerns that the iPhones are vulnerable to Western intelligence agencies, said the report.
Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the presidential administration, gave the directive to officials involved in domestic politics during a seminar in Moscow earlier this month, Kommersant said, citing sources present at the meeting.
They were asked to replace their iPhones with phones built on other smartphone software, such as Android, Chinese counterparts, or Aurora, an operating system developed by the Russian company Open Mobile Platform.
"It's all over for the iPhone: either throw it away or give it to the children," a person who attended the seminar told Kommersant. "Everyone will have to do it in March," he added, according to a Reuters translation of the quote.
Shortly after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February last year, Apple suspended the sale of its products, including the iPhone in the country. However, a few months later, reports said people in Russia were still purchasing the new iPhone 14 through legalized parallel imports programs.
When asked about the issue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that he could not confirm the report but said, "Smartphones should not be used for official business".