Following a plea from Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov for gaming companies to cease operations in Russia and Belarus last week, Niantic announced it would be shutting down support for Pokémon Go in those countries.
Niantic says downloads of Pokémon Go have already been disabled in those regions, with gameplay set to be suspended "shortly". The move by Niantic comes amidst a wave of similar decisions from fellow gaming companies that have decided to suspend business or services in those countries after Russia's invasion of Ukraine late last month.
We stand with the global community in hoping for peace and a rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine. Niantic’s games are no longer available for download in Russia and Belarus, and gameplay will also be suspended there shortly.— Niantic 🧭 (@NianticLabs) March 11, 2022
Sony has already suspended sales of both games and consoles in Russia, with Microsoft halting all sales in the country. Last weekend, Nintendo turned off sales of digital games on its eShop after disabling transactions in rubles, and more recently, announced that it would stop shipping products including the Switch to the country.
And while some game publishers like Bungie continue to provide limited service for its titles by continuing to support the free base version of Destiny 2, players in Russia no longer have the ability to buy DLC content, cosmetics, or Silver (Destiny 2's in-game currency). Meanwhile, other gaming companies including Epic, Ubisoft, CD Projekt Red, Take-Two, EA and others have stopped selling their games there entirely.
Currently, it's unclear how long Niantic's suspension of service in the region will last. But with the company making this decision to encourage a "rapid resolution to the violence and suffering in Ukraine," there won't be any online monster catching happening via Pokémon Go in Russia or Belarus until some kind of peace agreement can be brokered.