As Western and other countries expand sanctions against Russia, the European Union has recently agreed on a new round of restrictions which include sanctions on Vladimir Kirienko, CEO of VK Company Limited, the parent company of popular online portals mail.ru and vkontakte.ru. This means that those living in Latvia and the EU cannot collaborate with these portals, and payments between this group and Citadele Bank customers will be refused or frozen.
Last week, more than 150 legal entities and individuals were included in the European Union’s list of sanctions aimed at Russia due to the continuing invasion of Ukraine. This includes Vladimir Kirienko, the CEO of Russian internet company VK Company Limited and former Vice President of Rostelecom, the Russian state digital services company. VK Company Limited runs some of Russia’s most popular social media networks: Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki and Moi Mir, as well as the email provider mail.ru.
“If any Latvian residents plan on purchasing any services from these portals, they should be aware that these payments will be stopped and the money will be returned to their accounts, bearing in mind that EU sanctions also apply to any legal entities controlled by the subjects of sanctions,” explains Saiva Krastiņa, Citadele’s leading sanctions expert.
Mail.ru is one of the leading email service providers in Russia, and the services they provide are also used by people in Latvia. For some time, Russia has been testing ways of blocking its inhabitants’ access to the global internet. If this happens, communication options will be made difficult for those who use an email address from a mail.ru domain to communicate with service providers in Latvia. Furthermore, companies based in Latvia and Europe may soon ask customers to change their contact address if their current one uses a Russia-registered domain.