Heineken Joins Starbucks, McDonald's in Pulling Business From Russia

Heineken, the largest beer brewer in Europe, joined Starbucks and McDonald's on Wednesday in halting business in Russia amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

"We are shocked and saddened to watch the tragedy in Ukraine unfold. We stand with the Ukrainian people and our hearts go out to those affected. The Russian Government's war against Ukraine is an unprovoked and completely unjustified attack," Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said in a statement. "Heineken will stop the production, advertising and sale of the Heineken brand in Russia."

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Heineken said that the beer giant's business in Russia "represents less than 2 percent of our global sales."

"We have 1,800 employees and seven breweries in Russia," the spokesperson told Newsweek. "Supporting our employees and their families is an important principle in determining the way forward."

Starbucks and McDonald's also made similar announcements on Tuesday, condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and saying that they will pull their business from Russia.

"We continue to watch the tragic events unfold and, today, we have decided to suspend all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products. Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood," Starbucks said in a statement.

McDonald's also said that despite pulling business from Russia, it plans to continue paying the salaries for the company's employees in Russia.

In addition to these three, a number of other companies and brands have decided to halt business in Russia in an attempt to boycott the nation's war with Ukraine. Companies such as Meta, Apple, Ikea, Disney and Universal Music Group have announced that they are halting business in Russia.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian troops were conducting a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Since then, war has spread throughout Ukraine, with fighting in major cities such as the nation's capital, Kyiv and the second largest city of Kharkiv.

In response to the conflict, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for additional support from Western nations and those in NATO. Zelensky and several other Ukrainian officials have continued to ask for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine, but these calls have been denied by the U.S. and other Western countries.

During a press conference last week, U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby was asked if the U.S. is considering imposing a no-fly zone, to which he responded by saying "no."

Heineken joined a number of other companies and brands in announcing that they will halt business operations in Russia. Above, Heineken is displayed during the Hollywood Reporter Oscar Nominees Night presented by IHG Hotels and Resorts, and sponsored by Heineken and Amazon Ads at Spago on March 7 in Beverly Hills, California. Amy Sussman/Getty