McDonald's has announced the temporary closure of hundreds of restaurants in Russia in response to the country's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
All 850 McDonald's in the country are set to be affected, with CEO Chris Kempczinski sharing the news with the company's employees and franchisees today, March 8.
The announcement comes after the fast food company faced pressure to pull out of Russia from social media users using the hashtag "#BoycottMcDonalds", with many people criticising McDonald's, along with other food and drinks firms such as KFC, Starbucks and Coca-Cola, for continuing operations in spite of Putin's decision to order troops over the border.
In the email, shared on Twitter, Kempczinski announced the temporary closure of all restaurants and a pause of all operations in Russia, citing the "unspeakable suffering to innocent people" in Ukraine.
He continued: "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. Our number one priority from the start of this crisis has been – and will remain – our people."
Kempczinski went on to state McDonald's has "provided immediate financial support to our team in Ukraine", and that it is continuing to pay full salaries for Ukrainian employees as the conflict continues to unfold.
The company has also donated $5 million to its Employee Assistance Fund, and supports "relief efforts led by the International Red Cross in the region".
In a message shared to employees and franchisees, CEO Chris Kempczinski shared that McDonald's will temporarily close all restaurants and pause all operations in Russia. Click to read the message in its entirety. https://t.co/g8BXaKxvNj pic.twitter.com/6jt0NnYhKz— McDonald's Corporation (@McDonaldsCorp) March 8, 2022
The decision to halt operations in Russia comes after communication between Kempczinski and a number of people in the McDonald's company, with the CEO noting there are "many considerations" to take into account including the 62,000 employees in Russia who have "poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand to serve their communities."
"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", Kempczinski said.
Kempczinski assured that McDonald's employees in Russia will continue to receive their salary, saying the company is prepared to support "all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia".
The company is set to continue monitoring the situation in Ukraine to determine "if any additional measures are required", though the CEO said it is currently "impossible to predict" when operations may restart in Russia.
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