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Ukraine-Russia War: Which all companies have cut off Putin?

Akshata Kamath
Akshata KamathMar 03, 2022 | 16:29

Ukraine-Russia War: Which all companies have cut off Putin?

Russia's attack on Ukraine is causing companies to come together and withdraw their operations from the country - a move that is definitely taking everyone by shock. In the recent days, many nations have sanctioned Russia, its financial exchanges and its trade operations and forced a tehelka in Russian economics and its currency.

Along with these implications, is a moral feeling of standing against the wrongdoings of Russia against Ukraine, which has led to an increasing number of businesses to stp operating in Russia like before. The operations are stopping, both in count and severity as the Russians now have to face the social impact of these cuts in business ties.

1. APPLE  

Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty Images

On February 26, 2022, the Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov wrote to Tim Cook, asking Apple to support the US sanctions by blocking the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation. 

On February 28, it was confirmed that Apple did not support the Russian bank Novikombank, due to which Russian citizens have reported issues while using its services to pay for items.  

On March 1, Apple shared a statement (via Buzzfeed) saying that it has “paused all product sales in Russia”, and that its payment platform Apple Pay has been “limited”. Apple also announced that the Kremlin-controlled news outlets RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available on the App Store outside of Russia.

In addition, Apple has disabled both traffic and live incidents on Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens. Looks like this move was a big support to the Vice-PM, who tweeted this in response to Apple's supportive actions:

2. GOOGLE 

Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty Images

Google has restricted news firms funded by the Russian government from advertising tools and some features on YouTube. As per a statement to BBC, Google Pay had been limited in Russia for those using the sanctioned banks. Google has not, however, blocked Google Pay in Russia. Also, most of their services (like Search, Maps) currently remain available in Russia, to provide access to global information. But Google said that it would block YouTube channels connected to Russian broadcasters RT and Sputnik across Europe.

But when services like Google Pay stop working in a world which is accustomed to online transactions, life is pretty difficult to get by. 

3. TESLA

Tesla has done its bit in multiple ways in the last few days of the war. From March 1 onwards, Tesla is offering free charging for electric vehicles in 4 cities around Ukraine for those fleeing the country. Tesla has opened its Superchargers FOR FREE to both Tesla and non-Tesla cars (all makes of EVs) in parts of European countries which are affected by the Russian invasion. This includes countries like Trzebownisko, Poland, Kosice, Slovakia, which is on the east of the Ukraine border, as well as Miskolc and Debrecen, which lie to the south-east of Ukraine in Hungary.

In addition to this, on February 26, the Ukrainian Vice-PM had also made a direct Twitter plea to Elon Musk asking that he provide Ukraine with Starlink stations as Russia was attempting to occupy the country, and communication was paramount. 

Elon Musk promptly made this happen and on February 27, the Vice-PM thanked Elon Musk for his response. Now, Putin hasn't worked to cut off all communications in Ukraine, but since it could happen, Ukraine was preparing for the worst situation to ensure the continuity of power and internet services.

If Ukraine lost the ability to communicate internally and share key details with world leaders, it could be a catastrophic challenge to an already terrible situation. 

4. SHELL, BRITISH PETROLEUM AND EXXON 

Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty Images

Russia is blessed with oil and gas for sure, but they still need western companies like Shell, Exxon and BP to run them competitively. But what will Russia do when most foreign stakeholders pull out, one after the other?

British Petroleum, which was the largest foreign stakeholder in Russia's oil and gas sector (about 20%), abandoned its stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft, at a cost of over $25 billion.  

This was followed by Shell, the world's largest Liquified Natural Gas trader, which decided to exit all its Russian operations, including a major liquefied natural gas plant, to quit the oil-rich country. Shell will quit the flagship Sakhalin 2 LNG plant in which it holds a 27.5% stake and which is 50% owned and operated by Russian gas giant Gazprom. 

Shell will also exit the Salym Petroleum Development, which is another joint venture with Gazprom. This is shocking since Salym and Sakhalin 2 have both contributed $700 million to Shell's net earnings in 2021.

This was followed by other gas companies like Centrica and Norway's Equinor (EQNR.OL), who plan to exit Russia and divest from its joint ventures. 

Exxon, another oil and gas company that operates three large offshore oil and gas fields on the Sakhalin Island, has also joined the bandwagon on March 2, and decided to leave its stake worth more than $4 billion and halt new investments. This comes inspite of the owner of Exxon having close ties to Putin.

This move has put Russia's proposed plans of multi-billion-dollar projects and exports in a jeopardy as it was run by these western companies. 

5. FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND YOUTUBE

Russian state's news outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik have been obviously spreading misinformation on all social media platforms and TV channels, which has led companies like Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube to restricting these news outlets. 

Twitter and Facebook first limited the presence of RT and Sputnik on their platforms, with Twitter even adding warnings to tweets that shared links to these news channels. (Twitter saw more than 45,000 tweets per day which were linked to RT and Sputnik's posts). Along with the social media accounts, even the account of RT's editor- in-chief has been sanctioned.

But in the last few hours, EU has brought about a complete ban on both news channels. This means RT and Sputnik are banned not only on satellite TV, but also all social media platforms and apps. Thus Facebook, YouTube and TikTok will completely restrict access of both news channels in the European Union. 

YouTube is blocking RT and Sputnik's YouTube channels across Europe effective immediately. Even African Direct satellite Company DSTV pulled the plug on Russia Today channels, which has received mixed reactions. 

But Russia being Russia, it has now resorted to using the Ugandan TV to telecast its news. 

6. WARNER BROS, DISNEY, SONY, BBC AND NETFLIX 

When the Ukranian Film Academy called on entertainment companies to stop doing business with Russian companies that directly or indirectly help support Putin’s invasion, companies like Disney, Warner Bros, Sony and Paramount pulled out or paused their upcoming theatre releases from Russia.

This includes Sony's Marvel adaptation Morbius, WB’s The Batman, (which was set to release on March 3 in Russia), and Disney/Pixar's movie title Turning Red (which was to be released on March 10). 

BBC Studios, All3Media and ITV Studios have also stopped doing business with Russia in protest against President Vladimir Putin. All three of Europe’s largest television companies, which together represent hundreds of hours of television programming, have decided to stop licensing shows to Russian customers in light of the ongoing war. The Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Academy, television trade group NATPE have all joined this ban.

7. NETFLIX 

In December 2021, Netflix reached over 1,00,000 subscribers in Russia and was hence added by the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor to its register for audiovisual services. Consequently, Netflix is theoretically required as part of a law, locally known as as the Vitrina TV law, to distribute 20 “must-carry” free-to-air Russian news, sports and entertainment TV channels.

Netflix has mentioned that it will not carry these 20 Russian free-to-air propaganda channels that include Channel One (that is aligned with the Kremlin and likely to broadcast Putin propaganda, NTV and Spa (a channel operated by the Russian Orthodox Church). Netflix has also become the latest major media company to pause projects in Russia.

8. VISA, MASTERCARD AND AMEX

The Vice-PM of Ukraine had implored Visa and Mastercard to stop their services in Russia.

Following the appeal, Russians woke up to find their bank cards blocked as Mastercard announced via a statement that they had blocked multiple financial institutions in Russia from the Mastercard payment network. Mastercard also announced a $2 million contribution towards humanitarian relief while it is also stepping up its game against cyber attacks.

Amex and Visa have both been busy complying with US sanctions, which now prevents individuals and entities from accessing their bank accounts.

9. MCDONALDS  

A vast majority of McDonalds stores in Russia and all McDonalds stores in Ukraine are OWNED by McD unlike other countries, where McD runs its business on the franchisee model. Russia and Ukraine represent 9% of McD's global revenue and a similar situation exists for other fast food operators like KFC, Papa Johns and Burger King too.

In the past, political turmoils have led Russia to call for temporary closure of McD stores, where they falsely accused McD of sanitary violations. The fear remains that this might be repeated, considering piling western sanctions. 

10. BMW, MERCEDES, TOYOTA, BENZ AND JAGUAR LAND ROVER

Ukraine is the world's car component provider and also provides wiring harnesses that holds the electronic cables within a car together. But since the war has ravaged the country, warehouses and production factories in Europe, Ukraine and Russia are either suffering from lack of components or have frozen car sales.  

First Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Bentley, Aston Martin, Harley-Davidson and Rolls-Royce all froze sales to Russia, joining a growing list of brands like Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover, to Volkswagen. This then caused Ford, Renault and BMW to close their Russian plants. Porsche and BMW also had to shut their European plants because of lack of parts from Ukraine while Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Hyundai (Russia's largest brands) will cease manufacturing in the country, with Honda planning to leave the Russian market in 2022.

The sanctions and lack of payment alternatives are also causing pre sale bookings to be cancelled. 

11. MAERSK, FEDEX, CMA AND MSC

The world's biggest container lines have temporarily blocked Russia from world trade as the shipping companies have decided to stop operating in Russian waters. Maersk, CMA and MSC have suspended cargo shipments to and from Russia but excluding delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods.

Singapore and Germany's major ships have also followed this move. But Maersk has warned that strict checking and delays at ports and customs will cause shipping delays which can spoil food and medical shipments.

Nike is no longer taking online orders on its Russian-language website and has mentioned that since purchases on the website and app are temporarily unavailable in Russia, Nike currently cannot guarantee product delivery to customers in Russia. But it has directed its Russian customers to visit the brick and mortar stores suggesting that the stores might be open for operations for the time being.

Meanwhile Adidas, which had signed a longterm partnership with the Russian Football Union in 2008 and was featured prominently when the country hosted the World Cup in 2018, has suspended its partnership with the Russian Union with immediate effect. Adding to this, Germany has also stopped exporting large consignments of Adidas tracksuits to Russia.

The most powerful bodies in football, FIFA and UEFA, joined the International Olympic Committee to act in unison to suspend Russian teams from international football competitions as global sports closed the door on Russia. UEFA has also announced that it had cancelled a long-standing and highly lucrative sponsorship deal with Gazprom, the Russian gas company had sponsored the Champions League for a decade. 

The suspension means Russia cannot face Poland in a World Cup play-off semi-final next month, while its women’s team will also be barred from this summer’s European Championship in England. Also, Spartak Moscow will no longer compete in the Europa League.

Last updated: March 03, 2022 | 16:32
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