In a speech on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodyrmyr Zelenskyy singled out Nestlé and Auchan, accusing them of employing “cheap PR” to hide their decision to remain in Russia despite the conflict.
“All Western corporations must quit the Russian market and not conceal their greed for a profit with cheap PR despite the bloodshed and war crimes,” Zelenskyy stated in his speech.
Nestlé, the Swiss food company, and Auchan, the French retail conglomerate, are among a limited handful of Western corporations that have continued to conduct business in Russia since Ukraine’s invasion. Zelenskyy’s remarks come just one day after Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal tweeted about his meeting with Nestlé’s CEO regarding the company’s choice to stay in Russia.
“Unfortunately, he demonstrates no comprehension,” Shmyhal added. “Paying taxes to a terrorist country’s budget entails the murder of helpless children and mothers. I’m hoping Nestle will reconsider its position shortly.”
Nestlé, which is often referred to as the world’s largest food corporation, has “stopped all imports and exports from Russia, save for necessary products,” according to a company representative.
The representative stated, “We no longer make investments or advertise our products.” “Our remaining activities do not generate a profit for us. The fact that we, like other food enterprises, provide essential food to the public does not suggest that we will just carry on as before.”
Nestlé is “one of the few active food firms in Ukraine,” according to the spokesman.
Auchan did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, but a spokesman for the French retailer told Reuters that Zelenskyy’s remarks were “very shocking,” pointing to the company’s 40 supermarkets in Ukraine that provide food.
According to its website, Auchan has 311 stores and 41,000 employees in Russia.
“We follow our government’s suggestions, which do not require us (businesses) to shut down. We have a responsibility to help feed the Russian consumer, as well as a responsibility as employers to pay our employees “According to a Reuters story, Auchan’s group President Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux told BFM television last week.