Google no longer offers paid apps and paid app updates to Russian users. A new support page, first spotted by 9to5Google, says: "Google Play is blocking paid app downloads and paid app updates in Russia starting May 5, 2022."

Many companies have voluntarily stopped doing business in Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion, but Google makes it clear that it is not voluntarily canceling payments in the country. In March, Google said it was forced to "pause" its billing system for users "due to a payment system outage." (The Big Four credit card companies voluntarily withdrew from Russia in March due to the invasion of Ukraine, which made it virtually impossible for Google to offer paid apps.) Now Google says blocking paid apps is "part of our enforcement efforts."


Big Tech spent decades dodging geopolitical issues. That is no longer an option

The page says that "users cannot purchase apps and games, make subscription payments, or make in-app purchases of digital goods using Google Play in Russia." Free apps will still be available, and paid apps you've already purchased will still be available for download and use, but now any purchase will display an error message. Subscriptions cannot be renewed and will be cancelled. Because Google is only dealing with a lack of credit card processing, it says developer payments to Russian developers will continue.

Note: -  get more information about Google forced to end Play Store app sales in Russia

Google has a blog post outlining its efforts to help Ukraine, but continuing to do business in Russia makes it an outlier in big tech. Microsoft, Apple, Intel and nearly 1,000 other companies have exited Russia, while Google was accused of being the "Most Putin-Compliant US Tech Censor" in a recent Forbes article. One of the reasons Google can deliver on Russia is that the country has one of the most competitive search markets in the world. Google Search ranks second in Russia, just behind Russia's largest tech company, Yandex. If Google leaves or is kicked out of the country, it risks losing the market entirely.