Google is blocking users in Russia from buying or updating paid apps as the fallout from the country’s invasion of Ukraine continues.
The company suspended billing for Russian users on March 10, 2022 due to sanctions imposed on the country. This decision impacted new app purchases, as well as in-app purchases and subscription payments.
However, Google now has update its policy and says that it “blocks the download of paid apps and paid app updates in Russia from May 5, 2022”.
The reason cited for the policy change is “compliance efforts.”
Users can still access all paid applications already downloaded. Free apps are unaffected by the policy change, and users can still download and update them as usual. Google is disabling Top Paid and Top Grossing charts at this time, but Top Free will still be available.
All existing subscriptions will continue to be available until the end of their current billing period. However, the subscription cannot be renewed.
Developers can choose to extend grace periods for existing subscribers to access content after their billing period ends for up to 30 days in the Play Console. For longer periods, developers can defer a user’s renewal for up to one year with the Google Play Developer API.
New free apps can continue to be released in Russia, as can updates, but anything paid for is banned due to current sanctions.
In response to a moot question about what to do if an app provides an essential service to users that keeps them safe and gives them access to information, Google says, “If you want, you can choose to offer your application for free or to delete your paid services subscription during this break.
Until Russian troops leave Ukrainian territory and sanctions begin to be lifted, Android developers shouldn’t expect to see any further revenue from users in Russia.
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