Microsoft suspends new sales in Russia as Ukraine conflict intensifies

US technology company says it will take additional steps as situation evolves

Lat month, Microsoft detected a new round of cyber attacks directed against Ukraine’s digital infrastructure. AP
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Microsoft has joined the growing list of companies that have restricted their operations in Russia in response to Moscow's military offensive in Ukraine.

It will suspend all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia, the Washington-based technology company announced on Friday.

The company said it is co-ordinating with the governments of the US, the UK and the EU and is stopping many aspects of its business in Russia in compliance with a recent series of sanctions.

“We are horrified, angered and saddened by the images and news coming from the war in Ukraine,” said Brad Smith, president and vice chairman of the company.

“We will take additional steps as this situation continues to evolve … our single most impactful area of work almost certainly is the protection of Ukraine’s cyber security.

“We continue to help cyber security officials in Ukraine defend against Russian attacks, including most recently against a major Ukrainian broadcaster.”

Several international companies — including oil majors such as Shell, ExxonMobil and BP, car makers Toyota, Honda and General Motors as well as technology titans such as Apple and Meta — have suspended or limited business ties with Russia amid the military conflict.

Since the start of offensive, Microsoft has acted against Russia's targeting of more than 20 Ukrainian government, IT and financial sector organisations, it said.

The company has also acted against cyber attacks on “civilian sites".

“We stand with Ukraine in calling for the restoration of peace, respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and the protection of its people,” Mr Smith said.

Last month, before the start of Russian offensive, Microsoft’s threat intelligence centre detected a new round of cyber attacks directed against Ukraine’s digital infrastructure.

“We immediately advised the Ukrainian government about the situation, including our identification of the use of a new malware package and provided technical advice on steps to prevent the malware’s success,” Mr Smith said.

The US and its allies in Europe have imposed a host of sanctions on Moscow, while some Russian banks have been barred from the Swift global financial network.

Some countries closed their airspace to Russian aircraft, and the US Justice Department is also seeking to seize yachts, luxury apartments and private jets belonging to wealthy Russians with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

Updated: March 04, 2022, 4:40 PM