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Coca-Cola, Starbucks Join List of Companies to Suspend Business in Russia

Coca-Cola and Starbucks have joined the growing list of companies to suspend business relationships or operations in Russia due to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine, with statements released Tuesday.

“The Coca-Cola Company announced today that it is suspending its business in Russia,” the beverage company’s statement reads. “Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”

Starbucks, in an extension to a letter sent internally Friday that pledged donations to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, said in a statement that the chain’s 130 stores, which are owned and operated by a licensing partner, will be closed until further notice. Starbucks also said it would continue to support the nearly 2,000 “partners,” the company’s term for employees, who work at those 130 stores.

“We condemn the unprovoked, unjust and horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia, and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in the first statement released Friday. “The invasion and humanitarian impact of this war are devastating and create a ripple effect that is felt throughout the world.”

Starbucks also announced Friday it will donate all royalties it receives from the Russian locations to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, in addition to the $500,000 the Starbucks Foundation has given to World Central Kitchen and the Red Cross for relief efforts.

A list of businesses that have suspended operations or relationships in Russia compiled by the Yale School of Management includes nearly 300 companies, along with dozens that have yet to make a similar announcement.

The withdrawals from Starbucks and Coca-Cola came hours after McDonald’s announced it would suspend operations at all of its restaurants in Russia, which exceeds 800, and a following announcement that it would continue to financially support the more than 62,000 employees who work in the country.

“McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in the statement. “We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia. This includes salary continuation for all McDonald’s employees in Russia.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities in Russia and Ukraine will remain open to provide aid to those in need in both countries, the company said.

On Monday, tech giant IBM announced the suspension of the company’s operations in Russia, joining others in the industry that either suspended direct sales or otherwise limited their services in Russia, including Apple, Dell, Facebook’s parent company Meta and Google.

Over the weekend, credit card companies Visa and Mastercard also announced their intentions to halt operations and transactions using their cards within Russia.

Source: NEWSWEEK

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