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Google is now blocking Russian users and developers from downloading or updating paid apps from the Google Play Store starting Thursday, due to legal obligations under the sanctions decree. “As part of our compliance efforts, Google Play is blocking paid app downloads and paid app updates in Russia starting May 5, 2022,” the company said in an update to its support site.

Developers in Russia can still publish and update free apps, and users can still download them from the store. However, according to the new changes, all paid app updates will be automatically blocked for compliance reasons.

While users can no longer pay for subscriptions, Google recommends that developers give subscription billing grace periods and free trials, and they can also choose to defer renewals for up to a year to allow users to continue accessing content during this deferral period. Internal users are not charged.

“If you want, you can choose to offer your app for free, or remove your paid subscription during this suspension period,” Google advises in the case of apps that offer critical services that keep users safe or secure for them Provide information access.

Google first suspended its Google Play billing system in Russia on March 10 due to sanctions, preventing local users from buying apps and games, paying for subscriptions or any in-app purchases.

On March 23, Russia’s telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor banned Alphabet’s news aggregator service Google News from operating in the country and blocked access to on communications, it explained because it provided information about the ongoing war in Ukraine. “unreliable information”.

Roskomnadzor also asked Google to stop an ad campaign that spreads “misinformation” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in YouTube videos. In response, Google took action by blocking the European-facing YouTube channels of Russian state media Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik at the request of the European Union.

In early March, Russian regulators banned Instagram from users in the country after a week of blocking Facebook and Twitter social networks, at the request of the attorney general’s office.

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