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.
Photo: 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.
I’ve contacted @tim_cook, Apple's CEO, to block the Apple Store for citizens of the Russian Federation, and to support the package of US government sanctions! If you agree to have the president-killer, then you will have to be satisfied with the only available site Russia 24. pic.twitter.com/b5dm78g2vS— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 25, 2022
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.
"We have paused all product sales in Russia. Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia." https://t.co/zVh60Pls6N— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) March 1, 2022
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:
Photo: Getty Images
2 steps that will end Putin’s regime by Russians. Firstly, complete exit from the country of @Visa and @MasterCard (not just sanctioned banks). Secondly, complete blocking of the @Apple Store and @Google Play with all apps. This could strike irrevocably!— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 2, 2022
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.
Apple Pay and Google Pay no longer work on Moscow's metro system, leading to long queues as people fumble about for cash pic.twitter.com/ezaLZneKiJ— Jason Corcoran (@jason_corcoran) February 28, 2022
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.
@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
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 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.
Shell intends to exit equity partnerships held with Gazprom entities. https://t.co/UVidOeydZB— Shell (@Shell) February 28, 2022
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.
? #ONGT European gas prices increased strongly yesterday. With companies active in the LNG sector like Shell, BP and now Exxon Mobil deciding to exit the country and withdraw from their partnerships with Russian companies, the sustainability of Russia LNG exports is questioned. pic.twitter.com/TebpeeC1n6— ENGIE EnergyScan (@Energyscan_egm) March 2, 2022
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.
Russia Today has gone from freeview. I was in two minds on this but having watched it on and off over the last few days I think it's the right decision. All pretence at balance was gone. It was pure, unabashed lies and disinformation. And Russia needs to be attacked on all fronts pic.twitter.com/J9nPAvJl3p— Otto English (@Otto_English) March 2, 2022
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.
I'm so glad for an internet connection. @DStv has decided to remove @RT_com from the list thinking that we don't watch. It's clear who they stand with. I will choose witch media I want to consume. pic.twitter.com/BuB9nuCTJn— #Les_Bleus (@Thalyfstyl) March 2, 2022
But Russia being Russia, it has now resorted to using the Ugandan TV to telecast its news.
The Russian Embassy informs that the Ugandan TV channel @ubctvuganda broadcasts Russia's state-run TV channel – Russia Today @RT_com daily from 10 am till 11 am & from 11 pm till 3 am.❗️ Stay tuned if you are interested in receiving an unbiased information on world events. pic.twitter.com/8vrWHhusbe— Russian Embassy in Uganda ?? (@RusEmbUganda) March 2, 2022
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.
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.
Russia started a disgraceful war in my country! In 2022 cruise missiles target residential neighborhoods, kindergartens and hospitals. I address @Visa and @Mastercard to block their services on all cards issued within the Russian Federation @VisaNews @MastercardNews. pic.twitter.com/KIu8bUDYHw— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
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.
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.
This is usually a lineup you see fit a McD's. Instead it's a run on ATMs across Russia in anticipation banks crash opening Monday morning https://t.co/AR6BKHLF4Q— Bcuzzican (@bcuzzican) February 27, 2022
10. BMW, MERCEDES, TOYOTA, BENZ AND JAGUAR LAND ROVER
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
Shipping giant #Maersk sanctions Russia.Maersk is the World's largest container shipping line and vessel operator, and will no longer take non-essential orders To and From Russia, over the war crimes in #Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/Qs2nRf1uDt— Ukrain updates (@B_B_spear) March 1, 2022
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 has halted all online sales in Russia.The company says it “cannot guarantee delivery of goods to customers in Russia.” pic.twitter.com/VjmK6WeAKO— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 2, 2022
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.
Adidas has suspended their relationship with Russia, after they cut attaches with the Russian Football Union (RFS) in the midst of the country's attack of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/N05du36pgT— India Sports News (@IndiaSportNews) March 2, 2022
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.