Top U.S. food brands joined a growing list of international companies pulling out their operations from Russia, two weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine.
McDonald’s announced on Tuesday that it will suspend its business activity in 850 locations across Russia, which employs 62,000 people. It will however continue to pay their salaries, as well as the salaries of Ukrainian employees.
“McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market,” CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement to employees and franchises. “In the 30-plus years that McDonald’s has operated in Russia, we’ve become an essential part of the 850 communities in which we operate. At the same time, our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”
Kempczinski cited McDonald’s co-founder and former CEO, Fred Turner, who was confronted with a difficult decision years ago and whose approach was, at the time, simple: “Do the right thing.”
“We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia. This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia,” Kempczinski added.
Coca-Cola also announced it is halting its business in Russia and monitoring the situation.
“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” Coca-Cola statement said.
PepsiCo is stopping capital investments and all advertising and promotional activities in the country. “Pepsi-Cola entered the market at the height of the Cold War and helped create common ground between the United States and the Soviet Union,” PepsiCo CEO, Ramon Laguarta, wrote to his employees. “However, given the horrific events occurring in Ukraine we are announcing the suspension of the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia, including 7Up and Mirinda.”
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a message in the same spirit, saying: “our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 [employees] in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.