Russian watchdog closes fifth McDonald's restaurant amid Ukraine tensions
Latest closure of a McDonald's restaurant in Russia comes as Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko sat down for talks on Tuesday
Russia's food safety watchdog has ordered the temporary closure of the fifth McDonald's restaurant in less than two weeks in a seemingly tit-for-tat move against Western companies operating in the country following the latest round of sanctions against the Kremlin.
Rospotrebnadzor, the country's consumer protection agency, said it had launched an inspection on one of McDonald's fast food restaurants in Yekaterinburg in the Urals region as a result of "hygiene concerns".
The latest closure comes just days after the same watchdog shut three restaurants in Moscow, including the country's first McDonald's opened in 1990 as a symbol of Western culture, and one in Stavropol alleging "multiple violations" of Russia's sanitary laws.
A spokeswoman for McDonald's said the chain is studying the claims and looks to reopen operations in the five restaurants affected by the closure as soon as possible, adding: "We will do our best to continue the success of McDonald’s business in Russia".
Diplomatic relations between the West and Russia have hit a post-Cold War low point following the annexation of Crimea, which has unleashed tensions between the Kremlin and Kiev amid fears of a full-on Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Video: Ukraine and Russia hold peace talks
Washington and the European Union have accused the Kremlin of arming pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine following the shooting of the Malaysia Airlines plane on 17 July as it flew over a rebel-controlled area. Moscow has consistently denied this is case and recently announced it would ban food imports from the West in response.
"This is about heading off sanctions threats," said Timothy Ash from Standard Bank. "Russia is looking to increase the pressure on the west to head off the threat of further sanctions."
Despite the hostile rhetoric, Russia’s deputy prime-minister Arkady Dvorkovich insisted over the weekend that the Russian government has no intention of banning McDonald's from doing business in the country, adding that the latest round of sanctions "just happened at the time the inspection" took place.
Last week, French bank Société Générale, which owns a stake in Russian subsidiary Rosbank, warned that British American Tobacco, BASF chemicals, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Alstom and E.ON. are the most exposed Western companies to political risks as they generate large revenues in Russia.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...