McDonald's said Tuesday, the company will close all of its restaurants in Russia indefinitely over its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, but will continue paying salaries of employees in both countries. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
March 8 (UPI) -- McDonald's and Starbucks are both temporarily closing all of their locations in Russia over the ongoing "humanitarian crisis" in Ukraine, the companies announced separately Tuesday.
McDonald's is shuttering more than 800 restaurants in Russia, the company said in a letter sent to all of its employees.
"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," CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a letter to all McDonald's employees and franchisees.
"McDonald's has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market. 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."
Starbucks operates on a smaller scope in Russia, with around 140 stores as of January 2021.
"We condemn the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia and our hearts go out to all those affected," said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, in a letter to all of its partners.
"We continue to watch the tragic events unfold and, today, we have decided to suspend all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products. Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood."
McDonald's said it will continue to pay the salaries of all of its Ukrainian employees and has donated $5 million to their Employee Assistance Fund.
It has been doing business in Russia for more than 30 years, and serves 850 communities, according to the statement.
The company employs around 62,000 people in that country, mostly working at corporate-owned stores. In Russia, 84% of McDonald's locations are owned by the corporation rather than by franchisees.
The Chicago-based multinational corporation says it will monitor the ongoing situation to determine if additional steps are required.
"At this juncture, it's impossible to predict when we might be able to reopen our restaurants in Russia," wrote Kempczinski.
The company's Ronald McDonald House Charities will continue operating at full strength in both Russia and Ukraine, partnering with local hospitals and providing humanitarian aid.
European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo