Apple is in talks to terminate a lease on its Moscow office that the U.S. tech giant had opened less than a month before Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian media reported Friday, citing unnamed real estate sources.
Apple opened its corporate office in one of Moscow’s most expensive office spaces in early February 2022, becoming the first foreign IT company to bow to the Kremlin’s new rules requiring it to localize its operations within Russia.
A month later, days after Russian troops rolled into Ukraine, the iPhone maker halted all product sales and limited the use of Apple Pay and other services in Russia.
According to the RBC news website, Apple decided not to renew its lease in the Romanov Dvor center near Arbat Street with a view of the Kremlin after President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilization in mid-September.
Apple reportedly relocated most of its employees to the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan later that month. Another share had fled to Dubai and London.
Apple’s lease agreement for the class A office was originally valid until January 2025, according to RBC.
But the office space, which the iPhone maker first rented in 2017 and has since expanded, has reportedly not been fully in use since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Western corporate exit freed up to 24% of Russia’s elite commercial real estate between late 2021 to late 2022, according to RBC, Moscow Times reports.
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