Conflicts & War

Major US corporations suspend operations in Russia

New York, Mar 8 (EFE).- Some of the United States’ most emblematic companies and brands, from Coca-Cola to McDonald’s to Starbucks, said Tuesday they are suspending operations in Russia in response to that country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Those actions dealt a further blow to Moscow on a day when US President Joe Biden announced a ban on imports of Russian oil, certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas and coal in a bid to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the military operation in Ukraine that he launched late last month.

The Biden administration had earlier imposed severe financial sanctions on that nation’s central bank and on Russian commercial banks.

McDonald’s was the first company Tuesday to announce a pause in its operations, saying in a statement that it has decided to temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia due to the “needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”

Noting that the company has operated for more than 30 years and employs 62,000 people in Russia, it said that action “includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees” there.

Starbucks issued its own statement hours later, reiterating its condemnation of the “horrific attacks on Ukraine” and saying it had decided to suspend all of its business activity in Russia.

In an earlier statement four days earlier, Starbucks had said it does not have cafes in Russia but does have 130 stores that are wholly owned and operated by a licensed partner.

Coca-Cola, which until Tuesday had appeared reluctant to pause its operations, said in a brief statement that it was taking that step and that “our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine.”

Its chief competitor, PepsiCo, also said Tuesday in a much longer statement that it was suspending the production and sale of Pepsi-Cola and other global beverage brands in Russia.

However, it added that “now more than ever we must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business. That means we have a responsibility to continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily essentials such as milk and other dairy offerings, baby formula and baby food.”

“By continuing to operate, we will also continue to support the livelihoods of our 20,000 Russian associates and the 40,000 Russian agricultural workers in our supply chain as they face significant challenges and uncertainty ahead,” PepsiCo said.

Amazon, for its part, said Tuesday that Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms, “is no longer accepting new sign-ups based in Russia or Belarus,” a close Russian ally that borders Ukraine and was used as a staging ground for the invasion.

That company said last Friday that it was providing cybersecurity assistance to Ukraine.

Other major corporations – Google, Meta (Facebook), Apple, Visa, Mastercard, Ikea and Nestle – had earlier announced a suspension of different operations in Russian territory. EFE


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