SAP ends cloud services in Russia

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German business software giant SAP on Thursday said it would shut down its cloud operations in Russia, withdrawing further from the country after stopping sales in Russia earlier this month.

"Russia’s ongoing unjustified war is a heartbreaking display of brutality and a violation of the fundamental principle of freedom that we share with Ukraine," the company said on its website.

It added that the move would not prevent all customers in Russia from using its products as some organisations run installed software that they may be able to maintain on their own.

The withdrawal marks a change in direction as chief executive Christian Klein last week in a newspaper interview defended SAP's decision to still provide services to some industries in Russia such as energy, healthcare and trade that have not been directly affected by sanctions.

The move follows an appeal by Ukraine earlier this month for cloud-computing and software giants including Microsoft and SAP to cut off Russia to stop Moscow's invasion.

IDC analyst Philip Carter has said that Russian companies have been largely reluctant to rely completely on cloud services for their information technology, potentially limiting the blow from SAP's move.

SAP added on Thursday it was providing its technology to multi-national organisations for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

Separately, German telecoms group Deutsche Telekom said on Twitter it was closing its activities in Russia, which mainly amount to a software development centre in Saint Petersburg that is now winding down.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Nadine Schimroszik)

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