Magnolia Bakery opens first Moscow cupcake cafe but timing is far from sweet as Kiev denounces 'Russian invasion'

Chief executive insists bakery is a "happy company" unfazed by politics

Magnolia Bakery, the quintessential New York cupcake shop, has opened its first store in Moscow seemingly ignoring the tensions between the Kremlin and Washington over Ukraine.

Chief executive Steve Abrams defended the timing of the opening arguing Magnolia is a "happy company" that is not "worried about politics" even as President Obama accused Russia of "repeatedly and deliberately" violating Ukraine's territory on Thursday.

But Abrams isn't too concerned about the prospects of full-blown military action in Ukraine or a slowdown of the Russian economy due to punishing sanctions. He is also unfazed by the Kremlin's ban on Western food imports, including bakery goods, milk and fruit, insisting that Magnolia will "be fine with local ingredients".

The bakery will offer a range of cupcakes, pastries and puddings from 120 rubbles, or £2, in a fancy location in central Moscow and has plans to open five more cafes in the Russian capital.

 

Founded in Manhattan in 1996, Magnolia rose to fame as a gourmet cupcake shop after it featured on the popular HBO show "Sex and the City", in which Carrie and Miranda were often spotted taking huge bites out of pink-frosted cupcakes while talking about their love lives.

Magnolia's store opening coincides with the closure of three McDonald's restaurants in Russia, taking the total to eight restaurants ordered to be shut in less than two weeks by the country's food safety watchdog in what experts have described as a "warning" for Western companies.

Yesterday, President Obama and his ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, blasted Moscow for "obfuscating and lying" about having Russian troops deployed in Ukraine as Kiev warned about a "de facto" invasion.

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