American companies suspend operations in Russia over invasion

(NEW YORK) — More and more American companies are suspending their businesses in Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Pepsi became the latest corporations to add their names to the list.

“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people,” McDonald’s chief executive officer, Chris Kempczinski, said in a statement. “As a System, we join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace.”

The fast food chain, which employs 62,000 people in Russia, said it would be temporarily closing its restaurants and pausing operations in Russia. However, it will continue to pay salaries for all its employees in Russia.

Kempczinski said it is impossible to predict when the company will be reopening its restaurants.

“We are experiencing disruptions to our supply chain along with other operational impacts. We will also closely monitor the humanitarian situation,” he said.

Starbucks, in announcing it will immediately be suspending all its operations in Russia, condemned the “horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia.”

“We continue to watch the tragic events unfold and, today, we have decided to suspend all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products,” the company’s chief executive officer, Kevin Johnson, said in a statement.

The company said its licensed partner agreed to immediately pause store operations and provide support for its nearly 2,000 workers.

Beverage giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi also announced they were ceasing operations in Russia.

“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” the Coca-Cola Company said in a press release. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”

Pepsi, which has been operating in Russia for more than 60 years, “must stay true to the humanitarian aspect of our business,” CEO Ramon Laguarta wrote in a letter to PepsiCo associates.

“Our first priority continues to be the safety and security of our fellow Ukrainian associates,” Laguarta said. “We suspended operations in Ukraine to enable our associates to seek safety for themselves and their families, and our dedicated crisis teams in the sector and region continue to closely monitor developments in real time.”

Pepsi will also continue to provide aid to assist Ukrainians refugees in neighboring countries, including donating milk and refrigerators to relief organizations, and “we’re ramping up production of foods and beverages in neighboring countries to meet the increased need,” Laguarta said.

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