THE world’s biggest telecoms fair, the Mobile World Congress(MWC) in Barcelona has scrapped a dedicated area to Russian exhibitors due to their country’s invasion of the Ukraine.

The dozen Russian firms scheduled to take part next week can still participate according to organisers but will not be grouped together.

It’s not known whether Russian businesses will be allowed anyway due to economic sanctions imposed in the wake of Thursday’s invasion.

Event organisers, the GSMA association, said on Friday that it ‘energetically condemns Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine’.

“In light of this emerging situation and considering the tragic loss of life, MWC seems immaterial under the circumstances,” it added in a statement.

“The GSMA is complying with all sanctions and government policies resulting from this situation. Therefore, there will be no Russian pavilion at MWC22.”

The event returns to levels last seen in 2019 after suffering a last-minute cancellation in 2020 as COVID-19 started to spread and big name exhibitors pulled out.

Last year’s MWC was a low-key affair moved to June with a mixture of online and on-site events that brought in just 20,000 visitors.

The four-day fair, which starts on Monday, is expected to attract around 100,000 people.

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