Constant Russian shelling prevents Mariupol evacuation as global outrage grows

Heineken, Carlsberg and Universal Music join the exodus from Russia

Dutch brewer Heineken, Danish brewer Carlsberg and Universal Music Group are some of the latest Western companies to halt operations in Russia because of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Japanese gaming giants PlayStation and Nintendo are also announcing they will suspend shipments to Russia, joining hundreds of multinationals that have taken action.

Heineken, the world’s second-largest beer company, said it was halting production, advertising and sales of its eponymous brand in Russia “in response to the continued escalation of war”.

Heineken had already suspended new investments and exports to Russia last week.

“We are shocked and saddened to see the tragedy in Ukraine unfold,” Heineken chief executive Dolf van den Brink said in a statement.

“The Russian government’s war against Ukraine is an unprovoked and completely unjustified attack,” he added.

Heineken employs 1,800 people in Russia and claims to be the third largest brewer in the country, where it manufactures the Zhigulevskoe and Oxota brands for the local market.

The brewer said it would take “immediate steps to separate” its Russian business from the rest of its global operations “to stop the flow of money, royalties and dividends out of Russia.”

“Heineken will no longer accept any net financial benefit from our Russian operations,” he said.

Other famous Heineken brands include Amstel, Tiger and Strongbow cider.

Danish brewer Carlsberg, the world’s fourth-largest beer producer, said it was also halting production and sales in Russia.

It says Baltika Breweries, which it majority owns, would continue to operate as a separate business to support its 8,400 employees in Russia “who are not responsible for government actions”.

The Danish group claims that during the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, all profits generated by its activities in Russia would be donated to humanitarian organizations.

Sony Group, owner of PlayStation, said in a statement that its video game unit “joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine” by announcing that it is suspending operations in Russia.

The technology and entertainment conglomerate also said it was donating $2 million to the UN refugee agency and Save the Children “to support the victims of this tragedy”.

A Nintendo spokesperson told AFP it would suspend shipments to Russia “for the time being” for logistical reasons.

About 300 companies have announced their withdrawal from Russia since it invaded Ukraine, according to researchers at Yale University.

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks joined the crowd on Tuesday following public pressure to do so.

Also on Tuesday, Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record label, announced it was suspending all operations and closing its offices in Russia effective immediately.

Italian luxury sports car maker Ferrari has announced it is also suspending deliveries to Russia.

Ferrari, which has no factories in Russia and is represented there by two independent dealerships, sells fewer than 100 cars each year in Russia, out of more than 11,000 delivered worldwide last year.

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