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[Statement Samsung] Samsung silent as Ukraine asks it to stop selling products in Russia

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Last updated: March 5th, 2022 at 00:32 UTC+02:00

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues with no end in sight. The US and the European Union, in addition to other countries, have imposed tough economic sanctions on Russia. These sanctions put incredible pressure on the country’s economy and will grind many of its industries to a halt.

A lot of companies are also voluntarily deciding to stop doing business with Russia. Some of the world’s leading tech companies have been among the first to cut their ties with the country. Samsung hasn’t taken a position on the matter yet but Ukraine is now pushing it to do just that.

Samsung hasn’t made a statement yet

The Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also the country’s Minister of Digital Transformation, has been writing letters to tech giants calling on them to stop doing business with Russia. He also posts these letters on his official Twitter account.

So far, Fedorov has written to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Meta (Facebook) founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and many others. Many companies have now taken a position on the matter.

Apple has stopped selling its products through the Apple Store in Russia. It doesn’t have any physical retail stores in the country. Earlier today, Microsoft confirmed it will suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia.

Samsung has remained silent on the matter ever since the conflict began. Once Apple took a position, industry watchers were of the view that this would put pressure on Samsung to respond since it’s right up there with Apple as a leader of the mobile industry.

Fedorov wants Samsung to make a decision. In a letter to Jong Hee Han, Vice Chairman and CEO of Samsung’s SET division that includes the mobile business, Fedorov requests that Samsung “temporarily stop supplying services and products to Russia.” He further requests that access may also be blocked to Samsung Pay, Galaxy Store and the Samsung Shop.

The letter was tweeted today and there hasn’t been a response from Samsung yet. A Korean media report from earlier today quoted a Samsung Electronics spokesman as saying that there is no official company position on the matter.

Many are looking closely at what Samsung decides to do. The company accounted for a 33.2% share of the Russian mobile market as of 2021, over double that of Apple. Perhaps Samsung is looking for more clarity from South Korea’s government before it picks a side. The country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has already said that consumer goods like smartphones are exempted from the US export ban against Russia.

We’ve also reached out to Samsung for a statement on the matter and will update once we hear back.

UPDATE STATEMENT SAMSUNG:
Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted and our priority is to ensure the safety of all our employees and their families. We plan to actively support humanitarian efforts around the region, including aid for refugees. To this end, we are donating $6 million, including $1 million in consumer electronics products, as well as voluntary donations from our employees.
Due to current geopolitical developments, shipments to Russia have been suspended. We continue to actively monitor this complex situation to determine our next steps

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