The Seattle-based coffee chain has joined the growing chorus of western brands suspending operations in Russia as the Ukraine crisis deepens
A Starbucks store sign in Moscow, Russia | Photo credit: via Shutterstock
Starbucks has announced the suspension of its business in Russia, where it has 130 licensed stores operated by Kuwait-based Alshaya Group.
In an open letter, the company’s CEO and President, Kevin Johnson, said all business activities in the country would cease, including a ‘pause’ to all store operations and the shipment of all Starbucks products.
Support would be offered to the coffee chain’s 2,000 staff in Russia, Johnson added.
“Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson first wrote to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 4 March 2022 and pledged to donate all royalties from its Russian business to assist humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
The coffee chain also contributed $500,000 to the World Central Kitchen and the Red Cross for humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine.
“We condemn the unprovoked, unjust and horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia, and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Johnson said.
However, the suspension of Starbucks’ operations in Russia goes much further, with the coffee chain joining other international food & beverage brands, including McDonald’s, KFC, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi in pausing operations in the country.
Other prominent businesses to cease trading in Russia because of the war in Ukraine include Apple, Ikea, Shell, Adidas, IBM, Deloitte, Tik Tok and American Express.
Starbucks does not currently operate any stores in Ukraine.