The Washington Post reports that "several major American food and beverage companies announced Tuesday that they would suspend their operations in Russia, a step that comes after days of mounting public pressure on the corporate world to sever ties with the country over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
"McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski said the global fast food chain would temporarily close its 850 restaurants in the country … Shortly after the McDonald’s announcement, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo announced they would pause services in Russia.
"Starbucks’s licensed partner, the Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, which owns and operates 130 stores in Russia, will temporarily shutter locations and 'provide support' to its roughly 2,000 local employees."
At the same time, c-store company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. announced that, effective immediately, it "is suspending operations in Russia and implementing plans to take care of its employees in a responsible and safe manner."
Brian Hannasch, President and CEO of Couche-Tard, said, "We condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the huge human impact it is having for both Ukrainians and Russians. As such, we have made the decision to suspend operations. Couche-Tard has had stores in Russia for nearly three decades, and we are proud of our Russian team members and their dedicated service to local customers and communities."
In Russia, Couche-Tard has operated under its primary brand Circle K including over 320 employees and 38 stores located in St. Petersburg, Murmansk, and Pskov.
The New York Times offers some context:
"Investors, as well as social media users, have been applying pressure on businesses to pull out of Russia, especially fast-food chains, which have been criticized for lagging behind other companies with decisions about their Russia operations.
"For food companies that have spent decades cultivating the Russian market, the act of pausing or ceasing operations in the country is complex. It involves unwinding often byzantine local supply and manufacturing chains, addressing the fates of tens of thousands of Russian employees, and untangling close ties with Russian banks, investors and others that allowed them to flourish all these years."
The Times also reports that "Amazon has quietly stopped letting customers in Russia and Belarus open new cloud computing accounts. The policy change for Amazon Web Services started over the weekend … but was not publicly announced until Tuesday."