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Heineken, Carlsberg and Universal Music join exodus from Russia

Dutch brewer Heineken, Danish beer-maker Carlsberg, and Universal Music Group are some of the latest Western firms to halt operations in Russia over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Japanese gaming giants PlayStation and Nintendo also announce they will suspend shipments to Russia, joining the hundreds of multinationals who have taken action.

Heineken, the world’s second-biggest beer company, says it is stopping the production, advertising and sale of its namesake brand in Russia “in response to the continued escalation of the war.”

Heineken had already suspended new investments and exports to Russia last week.

“We are shocked and saddened to watch the tragedy in Ukraine unfold,” Heineken chief executive Dolf van den Brink says in a statement.

“The Russian government’s war against Ukraine is an unprovoked and completely unjustified attack,” he adds.

Heineken employs 1,800 people in Russia and says it is the third-biggest brewer in the country, where it makes the Zhigulevskoe and Oxota brands for the local market.

The brewer says it will take “immediate steps to ring-fence” its Russian business from the rest of its global operations “to stop the flow of monies, royalties and dividends out of Russia.”

“Heineken will no longer accept any net financial benefit derived from our Russian operations,” it says.

Heineken’s other famous brands include Amstel, Tiger and Strongbow cider.

Danish brewer Carlsberg, the world’s fourth biggest beer producer, says it too is halting production and sales in Russia.

It says Baltika Breweries, which it majority owns, would continue to operate as a separate business to sustain its 8,400 employees in Russia “who are not responsible for the actions of the government.”

The Danish group says that during the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, any profits generated by its business in Russia would be donated to relief organizations.

Sony Group, which owns PlayStation, says in a statement that its video game unit “joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine” as it announces it is suspending operations in Russia.

The tech and entertainment conglomerate also says it is donating $2 million to the UN refugee agency and Save the Children “to support the victims of this tragedy.”

A Nintendo spokesperson tells AFP it will suspend shipments to Russia “for the time being” for logistical reasons.

About 300 companies have announced their withdrawal from Russia since it invaded Ukraine, according to Yale University researchers.

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks joined the crowd on Tuesday following public pressure to do so.

Also on Tuesday, Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest label, said it was suspending all operations and closing its offices in Russia effective immediately.

Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari said it too was suspending deliveries to Russia.

Ferrari, which has no factories in Russia and is represented there by two independent dealerships, sells less than 100 cars every year in Russia, out of more than 11,000 delivered worldwide last year.

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