DETROIT, AP – McDonald’s says it is temporarily closing all of its 850 restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The burger giant said it will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia “who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand”.
But in an open letter to employees, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempckinski said closing those stores for now is the right thing to do.
“Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,” Kempczinski said.
Kempczinski said it is impossible to know when the company will be able to reopen its stores.
McDonald’s has also temporarily closed 100 restaurants in Ukraine and continues to pay those employees.
McDonald’s could take a big financial hit because of the closures.
In a recent regulatory filing, the US-based company said its restaurants in Russia and Ukraine contributed 9 per cent of its annual revenue or about $US2 billion ($A2.8 billion).
Unlike other big fast food brands in Russia that are owned by franchisees – including KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King – McDonald’s owns 84 per cent of its Russian locations.