Russian media has claimed that Intel and Microsoft have started up their business in Russia and Belarus once again following an inital stop as a result of the former’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed on the country.
Intel had reportedly suspended all shipments to Russia in February 2022, two months before it halted all business operations there, leaving Russian customers without access to software updates and other downloads.
It has also been reported that Microsoft has since allowed Windows 11 updates in Russia, however customers in the country are still unable to download and install the company’s latest operating system.
Intel and Microsoft in Russia
As a result, Russian media reported that the blocks were preventing companies like Intel from fulfilling warranty obligations, while some customers turned to VPNs, torrents, and other sources to find copies.
According to Intel (via Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)): “access to resources that meet driver update needs, such as the Intel Download Center and Intel Download Support Assistant, are part of Intel’s warranty obligations”, suggesting that it may have reinstated access to certain products purely on the basis of warranty compliance.
Another source is reported to have told Tom’s Hardware that, while Intel had blocked downloads in Russia earlier in 2022, access was restored later that year.
Some Russian media sources claim that it is possible, once more, to access the Intel download portal without having to use tools like a VPN, however the portal had to be found by a search engine as the main portion of Intel’s site is still said to be inaccessible in Russia.
TechRadar Pro reached out to both companies with regards to the resumption of operations in Russia. Intel told us:
“In February and March 2022, Intel suspended (opens in new tab) all shipments to customers in Russia and Belarus respectively. In April 2022 Intel announced that it was suspending (opens in new tab) its business operations in Russia.
There have been no recent changes to our operations; Intel continues to comply with all applicable export regulations and sanctions in the countries in which it operates. This includes compliance with the sanctions and export controls against Russia and Belarus issued by the US and allied nations. Access to resources that meet driver update needs, such as the Intel Download Center (opens in new tab) and Intel Download Support Assistant (IDSA) (opens in new tab), are part of Intel’s warranty obligations.”
Microsoft did not immediately respond to our request.