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08th Mar 2022

McDonald’s closes all restaurants in Russia following Ukraine invasion

Daniel Brown

The fast food giant will continue to pay its staff in Russia

McDonald’s has announced it will temporarily close its restaurants and pause operations in Russia after intense international pressure following the invasion of Ukraine.

The fast food giant was criticised for continuing to trade in Russia despite Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, with people accusing the company of prioritising profits over justice.

In an email to staff today (March 8), McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski wrote: “The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people. As a System, we join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace.”

He continued: “In recent days, I have spoken with and heard from many in our System about our operations in Russia. The situation is extraordinarily challenging for a global brand like ours, and there are many considerations.

“For 66 years, we have operated with the belief that communities are made better when there’s a McDonald’s nearby.

“In Russia, we employ 62,000 people who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand to serve their communities.

“We work with hundreds of local, Russian suppliers and partners who produce the food for our menu and support our brand. And we serve millions of Russian customers each day who count on McDonald’s.

“In the thirty-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.”

Mr Kempczinski confirmed that staff in Russia would continue to have their salaries paid by McDonald’s.

The company also announced that the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) will continue to operate in both Russia and Ukraine.

Following disruptions to the company’s supply chain in recent days, Mr Kempczinski acknowledged that it was impossible to predict when they would be able to reopen the restaurants in Russia.

“As we move forward, McDonald’s will continue to assess the situation and determine if any additional measures are required,” he wrote.

“At this juncture, it’s impossible to predict when we might be able to reopen our restaurants in Russia.

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

On Friday, the chief of New York state’s pension fund wrote to McDonald’s Corp, PepsiCo Inc and eight other companies asking them to consider pausing operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said it was “appalling” that the companies “won’t do the right thing”.

He added: “Some of these multinationals have lost their moral compass.”

Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey said: “Too many Western companies seem to think it’s ­business as usual despite Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine.”

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