Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs called on relevant businesses, governments and consumers around the world to boycott these brands for allegedly aiding the Russian government.
“Every Ruble paid in taxes to Russia turns into deaths and tears of Ukrainian children,” the ministry said on Twitter.
American burger chain Burger King, Italian luxury goods company Salvatore Ferragamo, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics were among the list of global brands that the ministry said were operating in Russia as of 9 March.
Following the publication of the list, Burger King said on Thursday it had “suspended all of its corporate support for the Russian market, including operations, marketing and supply chain” and would also reject requests for investment and expansion.
The fast food chain joins a string of major brands to have withdrawn from Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Food giant Nestle on Wednesday joined cigarette company Philip Morris International and Sony in scaling down production in Russia.
Caterpillar, the US-based engineering giant, has also announced that it was leaving Russia as operations in the country “have become increasingly challenging, including supply chain disruptions and sanctions”.
On Thursday, Goldman Sachs became the first big American bank to announce its exit from the company. Hours later, JPMorgan Chase, the biggest bank in the US, also followed suit announcing that it is “unwinding Russian business” and is not pursuing new ventures.
“Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements,” said bank spokesperson, Andrea Williams. “We are focused on supporting our clients across the globe in managing or closing out pre-existing obligations in the market and ensuring the well-being of our people.”
Unilever, which owns brands like Dove and Sunsilk, also suspended the imports and exports out of Russia. The European company said it would not invest further in the country, while also stopping media and advertising spending there.
Many businesses are facing difficulty working in Russia due to international sanctions imposed on Moscow after the Ukraine invasion and a hit to the supply chain. The growing anti-Russian sentiment and calls to boycott the country have also led to corporations take steps to decrease business in Russia.
Earlier this week, dozens of corporations, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Hermes, Chanel and Prada ceased trading in Russia. McDonald’s said shutting down 847 stores across the country would cost it $50m (£38m) a month.
Netflix has suspended its operations in Russia, while Spotify has closed its office in the country indefinitely. Spotify has also restricted the discoverability of shows owned and operated by Russian state-affiliated media.
Reacting sharply to the mass exodus, Andrei Turchak, secretary of the ruling United Russia party’s general council, warned that Moscow might nationalise idled foreign assets.
“United Russia proposes nationalising production plants of the companies that announce their exit and the closure of production in Russia during the special operation in Ukraine,” the secretary wrote in a statement.
As Russia’s unprovoked invasion entered the third week on Thursday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol an act of “genocide”. Sergei Orlov, the deputy mayor of Mariupol, said that at least three people, including a six-year-old child, were killed in the attack.
British prime minister Boris Johnson announced that his government will impose tough new sanctions against Russia. “We will tighten these to impose the maximum economic cost on Russia and are stepping up our military support to Ukraine,” he tweeted.
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.
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