• The Russian government asked Apple for "reasons" behind blocking the VK apps
  • The company's CEO, Vladimir Kiriyenko is one of the "elites close to" Putin
  • VK Group reported approximately $56 billion in losses during Q2

Apple has removed apps created by Russian tech giant VK Group from the App Store, including Russia's largest social network, VKontakte. The Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs said it has launched a probe on the matter.

As per a translation of the statement by the tech conglomerate shared Tuesday, "some VK applications are blocked by Apple" but the company will "continue to develop and support iOS applications," The Verge reported.

Users of the blocked apps may experience payment-related issues due to Apple's recent move, the company added.

Apple has reportedly not provided any reasons for the removal of VK apps from the App Store and it did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the outlet as reported Wednesday.

In response to the VK block, Russia's Ministry of Digital Affairs "sent a request to Apple Inc about the reasons for deleting VK applications and developer accounts, underlining the social significance and scale of use of the services provided by the Russian company," Russian state-backed news agency RT reported.

News of the VK apps being blocked on the App Store comes weeks after the Russian company reported a net loss of 3.4 billion roubles, or approximately $56 million, during the second quarter. The company also said that its total adjusted EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) plummeted 37% year-on-year, as per a Reuters report.

VKontakte is often compared to Facebook due to its similarities to the Meta-owned site. It was touted as a major substitute for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as Russia blocked these sites and apps in the country after invading Ukraine.

Russia's tech industry has been met with multiple sanctions from the United States and other Western nations since the Ukraine invasion began.

Two days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the U.S. government announced sweeping sanctions on several Russian elites, including VK Group CEO Vladimir Kiriyenko.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury tagged Kiriyenko as one of the "elites close to" Russian president Vladimir Putin, in a press release on Feb. 26.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, "elites and families" with close ties to Putin "continue to leverage their proximity to the Russian President to pillage the Russian state, enrich themselves, and elevate their family members into some of the highest positions of power in the country at the expense of the Russian people."

Besides VK Group, other tech companies in Russia, too have felt the brunt of export controls laid out by the U.S., the U.K. and some European nations.

Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, and TSMC are just some of the world's chip giants that halted business with Russia since the Ukraine invasion. A chip company executive told the Financial Times in June that "the entire supply routes for servers to computers to iPhones – everything – is gone."

Apple stopped selling its products in Russia in March, stating that it is "deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine." The company added at the time that it will evaluate the situation continuously and was communicating with the "relevant governments" on the actions it is taking in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

An iPhone 6 is pictured at an Apple store on Sept. 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images