Amazon Web Services has halted taking on new customers in Russia and Belarus

Amazon has stopped accepting new cloud customers in Russia and Belarus, escalating its response to Ukraine’s invasion but stopping short of completely shutting down cloud services in the countries.

In a statement to the New York Times, company spokesman Drew Herdener attributed the decision to “current events and the uncertainty and lack of credit available in Russia right now.”

Microsoft, which operates the competing Azure cloud computing platform, also announced last week that it would suspend “all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia.” Amazon does not have an e-commerce presence in Russia.

“Unlike other U.S. technology providers, AWS has no data centers, infrastructure, or offices in Russia, and we have a long-standing policy of not doing business with the Russian government,” according to Amazon last week.

Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation and vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, last week asked Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos, to cut off the company’s cloud services in Russia.

According to cloud industry executives and analysts, such a move by major cloud providers would be crippling for Russian businesses. At the same time, it would raise difficult issues such as defining a “Russian company” and determining the best technical means of blocking access to services. Amazon previously stated that its largest AWS customers in Russia are headquartered elsewhere and have development teams in the country.

According to the New York Times, the change in AWS signup policy went into effect over the weekend. After receiving an inquiry from the newspaper, Amazon updated its Ukraine assistance page on Tuesday with a note about the new policy.

Amazon has been assisting companies and governmental organisations in Ukraine with cybersecurity, as well as providing humanitarian relief and support to non-governmental organisations in the country.