McDonald's Made A Big Announcement About Its Russian Locations

As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, a backlash against companies continuing to do business in Russia has been growing, with social media users calling for boycotts of corporations that have not suspended operations. It seems the public pressure has worked because McDonald's, in a newly released letter to employees and franchise owners, announced that it would be pausing its business in Russia.

According to The Washington Post, McDonald's opened its first Russian location in 1990, and many saw it as a sign of easing tensions after the end of the Cold War. Since then, the famous fast-food chain has opened 850 locations in Russia and more than 100 in Ukraine. Locations in the two countries now make up 9% of McDonald's annual revenue.

In his open letter, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski explained the challenges that a "global brand" like McDonald's faces during an international crisis, but said, "Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine." He announced that McDonald's will temporarily pause operations and temporarily close all locations in Russia and 108 locations in Ukraine.

McDonald's pledges to help employees affected by closures

The decision to close over 950 McDonald's locations across Russia and Ukraine did not come easily to the company, which has been under increasing pressure to respond to the war in Ukraine (via The New York Times). In his open letter announcing the temporary closures, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said, "Our number one priority from the start of this crisis has been, and will remain, our people."

The burger giant has pledged to continue paying the salaries of its 62,000 Russian employees. McDonald's will also pay all displaced Ukrainian employees, in addition to making a $5 million donation to its Employee Assistance Fund. The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is providing medical assistance and humanitarian aid at the border of Ukraine and Russia and throughout the country. The RMHC in Russia is still fully functioning and will continue to provide charitable services.

McDonald's says that it will continue to evaluate the crisis situation in Ukraine, along with focusing on helping those in need all across Europe.