Microsoft cloud services will be blocked in Russia, and Google and Amazon services are next

Microsoft logo
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will stop its cloud services from working in Russia following sanctions placed on the country.
  • Softline has reportedly set up a Telegram channel to support clients and has encouraged people to back up data.
  • The 12th package of EU sanctions, EU 833/2014 is the sanction that led to the change, and it goes into effect on March 20, 2024.

Microsoft cloud services will be suspended in Russia tomorrow, March 20, 2024. The move is being made to be in compliance with the 12th package of EU sanctions, which was published on December 18, 2023 and that companies need to be in compliance with by tomorrow.

An RBC Russia report explained that Russian IT firm Softline has warned customers about the suspension and created a Telegram channel to speak with clients. Amazon and Google are expected to follow in the same footsteps as Microsoft, which is according to Softline and sensible given the sanctions requiring compliance on March 20, 2024.

An ongoing issue

This week's news regarding Microsoft and Russia is hardly surprising. Microsoft announced that it would stop selling its products and services to Russia back in March 2022. The tech giant also stopped renewing Microsoft 365 subscriptions in Russia in August 2023. The general director of the Basalt SPO company spoke about organizations that paid for Microsoft services given the current political climate:

"Those companies that had purchased subscriptions to Microsoft or other foreign service providers for data storage had been short-sighted. There was always a risk of being cut off from access, and now that has come true. This is a serious problem for those organizations that have avoided switching to domestic software and service providers."

The general director's comments were reported on by Windows Report.

The political environment surrounding Russia has been complex and layered for several years. Tech giants have had to adjust their offerings to comply with laws and also have made decisions based on moral standing. For example, game developers pulled games from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Microsoft President Brad Smith and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared thoughts on the tech giant's role within the U.S. security apparatus. Microsoft uses AI to combat misinformation, including Russian disinformation about the Middle East.

"By creating technological tools that facilitate the detection of manipulated, modified, altered content," said Smith in an interview translated by France Radio International. "We are getting very good at identifying a Russian campaign," he continued, "like when they tried to tell people not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Or today, when we see Russian disinformation in the Middle East."

Regulating and controlling technology is complex, and Microsoft's actions will continue to evolve over time, for both moral reasons and to comply with various laws.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at