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McDonald's giving up businesses in Russia over war in Ukraine

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McDonald's giving up businesses in Russia over war in Ukraine
The company said that its Russian businesses will be sold to a local buyer. McDonald's has almost 900 locations in Russia that employ more than 60,000 workers. File Photo by Billie Jean Shaw/UPI

May 16 (UPI) -- McDonald's announced on Monday that it's selling its operations in Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine -- which includes hundreds of restaurants and tens of thousands of employees.

The fast-food giant cited two main reasons for leaving Russia -- the instability caused by the fighting and the fact that McDonald's opposes Moscow's military campaign.

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The company said that its Russian businesses will be sold to a local buyer. McDonald's has almost 900 locations in Russia that employ more than 60,000 workers.

After the fighting began in late February, McDonald's initially said that it would temporarily close its Russian businesses.

"We have a long history of establishing deep, local roots wherever the [golden] arches shine," McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement. "We're exceptionally proud of the 62,000 employees who work in our restaurants, along with the hundreds of Russian suppliers who support our business, and our local franchisees."

A destroyed Ukrainian tank is seen in a field just east of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

The arrival of McDonald's in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s was one of the most high-profile and anticipated corporate moves by any American business. After three decades, Kempczinski said that leaving McDonald's workers and owners there was not an easy choice.

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"Their dedication and loyalty to McDonald's make today's announcement extremely difficult," he said in the statement. "However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining there."

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McDonald's said it expects to take a hit of more than $1 billion for pulling out of Russia. Its restaurants in Ukraine are still closed due to the war, but officials said the workers are still being paid.

"McDonald's restaurants in Ukraine remain closed while the company continues to pay full salaries for its employees in the country and continues to support local relief efforts led by Ronald McDonald House Charities," the company added.

"Across Europe, the McDonald's system is supporting Ukrainian refugees through food donations, housing and employment."

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Priest Andrii Gavalin presides over the funeral of Eugene Bogdanov, 35, in Bucha, Ukraine, on May 10. Bogdanov went missing two months ago. His wife, Natalia Bogdanova, was searching for him throughout the Kyiv and Bucha regions when his body was found at a morgue in Belaya Tserkov on May 9. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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