Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks have joined the U.S. embargo of the Russian market by suspending sales and closing stores in the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
The move to rescind products and services from the Russian market comes amid Ukrainian calls to various industry leaders and companies to deny Russian citizens access to the global financial market, and prohibit them from enjoying everyday services in an effort to put the screws on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a statement by Coca-Cola, the company said it is “suspending its business in Russia,” going on to say that “our hearts are with the people enduring unconscionable effects by these tragic events in Ukraine.”
PepsiCo joined with its soft drink rival to echo its embargo on Russia.
“Pepsi-Cola entered the market at the height of the Cold War and helped create common ground between the United States and the Soviet Union,” said PepsiCo in a statement. “However, given the horrific events occurring in Ukraine we are announcing the suspension of the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia, including 7Up and Mirinda. We will also be suspending capital investments and all advertising and promotional activities in Russia.”
Despite ceasing its sale of soft drinks, the company says it will continue selling essentials like milk and baby formula to support the livelihoods of its 20,000 Russian employees and 40,000 Russian agricultural workers who are part of the corporation's massive supply chain “as they face significant challenges and uncertainty ahead.”
However, despite its claims of support for the Russian workers, PepsiCo said that its “first priority continues to be the safety and security of our fellow Ukrainian associates.” As a result, PepsiCo is suspending operations in Ukraine “to enable our associates to seek safety for themselves and their families.”
Starbucks has joined in the embargo by suspending all business activity in Russia, including the shipment of its 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,” the Seattle-based coffee company said in a statement.
All three companies have pledged to support humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine.
The move to suspend Russian operations follows McDonald’s high-profile decision to close its restaurants across Russia on Tuesday.