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Heineken and Universal Music join Russia’s exodus

Dutch brewer Heineken and Universal Music Group are the latest Western companies to shut down their operations in Russia war in Moscow in Ukraine.

Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari, meanwhile, said it is suspending deliveries to Russia.

Heineken, the world’s second-largest beer company, said on Wednesday it was suspending production, advertising and sales of its eponymous brand in Russia “in response to the ongoing escalation of the war”.

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

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

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

Heineken employs 1,800 people in Russia and claims to be the third largest brewer in the country, making the Zhigulevskoe and Oxota brands for the local market.

The brewer said it would take “immediate steps to foreclose its Russian operations from the rest of its global operations” to stop the flow of money, royalties and dividends out of Russia.

“Heineken no longer accepts a net financial benefit arising from our Russian business,” it said.

Other well-known Heineken brands include Amstel, Tiger and Strongbow cider.

According to researchers at Yale University, about 300 companies have announced their withdrawal from Russia after the neighboring country invaded Ukraine.

Under pressure from the public, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks joined the crowd on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Universal Music Group, the world’s largest label, said it is suspending all operations and closing its offices in Russia with immediate effect.

“We urge an end to the violence in Ukraine as soon as possible,” Universal said in a statement.

“We are complying with international sanctions and working with our collaborators and artists with groups from different countries … to support humanitarian aid to provide urgent aid to refugees in the region,” it said.

Elsewhere, French rail giant Alstom announced on Wednesday that it was suspending supplies to Russia and future business investment there.

But Alstom said it will retain its stake in Russian locomotive and railway equipment supplier Transmashholding.

Ferrari, which has no factories in Russia and is represented there by two independent dealers, sells fewer than 100 cars annually in Russia, of the more than 11,000 delivered worldwide last year.

The Italian company announced on Tuesday a donation of one million euros ($1.1 million) “to support the Ukrainians in need”.

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