McDonald’s has initiated a process to sell its business in Russia after 30 years of operating its restaurants in the country, after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. It comes as Greenpeace has blocked tanker carrying Russian diesel to UK fuel terminal.
In March, McDonald’s closed all its restaurants in Russia including its site in Pushkin Square in the capital, which was the first in the country.
“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable,” McDonald’s said.
Chief executive Chris Kempczinski said the “dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s” of employees and hundreds of Russian suppliers made it a difficult decision to leave.
“However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values,” Mr Kempczinski said in a statement, “and our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining there.”
They have 850 restaurants that employ 62,000 people, making it the latest major western corporation to exit Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.
It comes as Greenpeace says protesters have occupied a jetty where a tanker carrying a 33,000-tonne shipment of Russian diesel was due to berth, forcing it to turn around in the Thames.
The campaign group said 12 activists gained access to Navigator Terminals in Grays in Essex and climbed onto the jetty late on Sunday.
Greenpeace is protesting against the UK Government allowing fossil fuel money to flow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Essex Police said officers were called to reports of people gaining access to the terminal shortly after 11.05pm on Sunday.
The force said eight people have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, and officers are working with partners to bring “a number of others” to safety.
Greenpeace said several protesters remain in place, with one activist on the offloading pipes, another hanging off the jetty and others occupying the jetty preventing the tanker from docking.
They have unfurled a banner reading: “Oil fuels war”.
Greenpeace said the 183-metre-long vessel was due to offload at 11.59pm on Sunday.
Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The UK’s attachment to fossil fuels has backfired in the worst way possible – we’re funding a war, our energy bills and fuel costs are sky-high, and we’re driving the climate crisis.
“It has to stop.
UK funding war chest
“Putin invaded Ukraine nearly three months ago, and yet fossil fuel money from the UK is still funding his war chest.
“Ministers have kicked a ban on Russian oil imports to the end of the year despite strong public support for it.
“To stand up to Putin, bring bills down and tackle climate change, the Prime Minister must get us off fossil fuels as fast as possible, stop ludicrous energy waste from our substandard draughty homes, and prioritise cheap, clean, homegrown renewable power.”
Greenpeace has tracked shipments of fossil fuels from Russia.
The Government has already banned Russian-owned, operated or flagged ships from entering the UK, but there is nothing stopping a vessel owned from elsewhere, from coming to the UK with Russian oil.
The tanker heading to the Essex terminal travels under a Greek flag, but is carrying fuels from the Russian port of Primorsk, Greenpeace said.
An Essex Police spokesman said officers are at Navigator Terminals and “working to resolve the situation quickly and safely”.
“Policing is not anti-protest, but we must intervene where there is a risk to life or where there is a suspicion laws are being broken,” the spokesman said.
“We are hoping this will be resolved safely and swiftly so that our officers can get back to protecting and serving the people of Essex.”