Several Russian companies will be banned from the world’s largest mobile technology conference following Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in a bloody conflict that has already seen hundreds killed and thousands flee their homes.
Mobile World Congress organisers will ban some Russian companies from the show, scheduled to take place from February 28 to March 3, Reuters reported.
Russian mobile products will be missing from the country’s pavilion at the Barcelona-based event this year following international sanctions imposed upon the country after the invasion of Ukraine, GSMA, the trade body that organises the event, has confirmed.
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Although the GSMA condemned the Russian invasion in a statement on its website, Chief Executive John Hoffman told Reuters that there were no plans to cancel or reschedule the event. He added, however, that it was an evolving situation that they would continue to monitor.
While Hoffman said a handful of Russian companies and their executives would be barred from the event, he refused to disclose the names and added that the sanctions lists were evolving.
The European Union, the US, and the United Kingdom have already imposed large-scale sanctions on several top Russian officials, especially those close to President Vladimir Putin. The White House also announced a broad package of sanctions following the Russian invasion, announcing measures that prevent Apple and other US tech companies from offering services to the Russian military or the Ministry of Defence.
However, companies with links to Russia such as carrier VimpelCom can still buy presence by paying for a dedicated show flow space.
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Nearly 40,000-60,000 people are likely to attend the conference, which is likely to be among the largest in-person gatherings since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Russia’s “special military operations”, as described by Putin, entered Day 3 today with reports of street fighting in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. The city endured heavy shelling all through the night from the Russian army.