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Coca-Cola and PepsiCo suspend Russia business, point to "events in Ukraine"

Global sanctions impact daily life in Russia
Global sanctions impact daily life in Russia 01:49

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — two of the biggest beverage producers on the globe — are joining the largest fast-food chain in suspending business in Russia in the wake of that nation's invasion of Ukraine.

Echoing concern for the people of Ukraine voiced earlier in the afternoon by McDonald's, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola on Tuesday announced it was curtailing operations in Russia. "Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine," the multinational stated.

"We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve," the statement added.

PepsiCo cited "the horrific events occurring in Ukraine" in suspending sales of Pepsi-Cola, 7 Up and other brands in Russia, along with capital investments and advertising in that country, where it's operated for more than 60 years. The company will continue to sell dairy products including milk, as well as baby food and formula, it said.

Starbucks followed suit, saying it was suspending all business activity in Russia, including shipment of its products. "Our license 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."

"We condemn the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia," stated the coffee chain's CEO, Kevin Johnson. 

The companies made their announcements shortly after McDonald's said it would temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia. Like Coca-Cola's briefer statement, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski's open letter to employees stopped short of condemning Russia for its attack. 

More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion of the country, according to the United Nations. 

While a broad range of companies have shut down in Russia as the Ukraine crisis escalates, McDonald's and Coca-Cola were among those continuing to do business there. 

Both companies faced boycott campaigns on social media, while McDonald's was among those getting called out by the New York state pension fund, one of the largest investors in the U.S.

On Tuesday, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli applauded the move by McDonald's and other companies to withdraw from Ukraine. 

"Companies doing business in Russia need to seriously consider whether it's worth the risk. As investors, we want assurances that our holdings are not in harm's way. I commend the companies that are taking the right steps and suspending their operations in Russia," DiNapoli said in a statement.

More than 200 U.S. and foreign companies have curtailed operations in Russia so far, according to a running tally by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management professor at Yale University. He previously had listed McDonald's and Coca-Cola as among the companies remaining in Russia with significant exposure. 

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