Business For Ukraine (B4Ukraine) — an international coalition of more than 80 civil society organizations — demands an end to ongoing US corporate complicity in Russian aggression and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
More than 300 U.S. companies with ties to Russia at the start of 2022 continue to do business in the country, according to a new analysis of 3,078 multinational companies.
Based on data from the Kyiv School of Economics, the analysis titled “Unfinished Business” found 314 US companies are still actively conducting business in Russia, and of the companies that had a local Russian subsidiary at the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, only 32, or 13%, have completed the liquidation or sale of their Russian business.
“One year after the invasion and nine years since the beginning of Russia’s aggression, this is far too little progress,” said Eleanor Nichol, Executive Director of the B4Ukraine Coalition. “While American taxpayers continue to support Ukraine, providing billions of dollars in support, more than 300 US companies have chosen to continue doing business with the Putin regime — continuing to pay taxes and indirectly supporting this horrific war and undermining sanctions.”
“While the companies doing business with Russia are reporting on their increased profits in the past year, Ukrainians are recounting their losses,” added Nataliia Popovych, member of the B4Ukraine Coalition. “The millions of lives forever disrupted by over 70,000 Russia’s war crimes, tens of thousands of casualties among the Ukrainian civilians, including 461 children. Over 5,300 missiles and kamikaze drones targeting critical infrastructure, apartment blocks, schools, and hospitals across Ukraine were made possible in part by the taxes paid by multinationals in Russia.”
Decisive exits from the Russian market by 340 US companies — such as FMC, Halliburton, PPG, Koch Industries, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Arconic — serve as positive examples that a swift and orderly exit from Russia is possible. But unfortunately, American industry leaders like Oreo producer Mondelez, oilfield services giant Schlumberger (SLB), Tinder owner Match Group, and Tide manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G) have chosen to continue operating in Russia.
B4Ukraine demands an end to all US corporate complicity and is calling on the Biden Administration to immediately issue an advisory to inform individuals, businesses, financial institutions, and other persons — including investors, consultants, and research service providers — of the heightened risks associated with doing business in Russia, and particularly business activity that could benefit the Russian military.
The Biden Administration has previously issued business advisories to help companies identify and mitigate material risks related to human rights and conflict when faced with high-risk situations in Myanmar, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Sudan, and Cambodia. The tragic consequences of Russia’s aggression and severe risks to Ukrainian civilians and American companies merit a comparable response.
B4Ukraine applauds President Biden’s recent visit to war-torn Kyiv and his commitment to back Ukraine against Russia for “as long as it takes.” The coalition also commends the critical determination by the US government that Russia has committed “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Vice President Kamala Harris stated, “In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt. These are crimes against humanity.”
“No government has done more over the last two-plus decades to encourage businesses to act responsibly around the world than the U.S. Government. Now the Biden Administration has a responsibility to warn American companies remaining in Russia of the severe legal, operational and reputational risks they face,” said Bennett Freeman, B4Ukraine steering committee member and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
To be clear, changes to Russian law signed into effect by Putin in September 2022 require those companies that remain to facilitate conscription for eligible employees and provide material support to the Russian military upon request. Along with Putin’s other legislative measures, the Russian military’s commission of war crimes, and the international community’s response to the invasion, the decree heightened the severity of risk faced by multinational companies which have chosen to stay.
“CEOs of US companies still operating in Russia must do their part in halting the flow of financial resources to the Russian state until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are restored and accountability is imposed for war crimes and the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure and property,” said Rich Stazinski, member of the B4Ukraine Coalition. “Last March, President Zelensky challenged Americans to ensure that Russia receives not a single penny to fund its war. As we mark one year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and nine since the invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea, the business of ending U.S. corporate complicity in Russian aggression is far from finished.”
The data used for this analysis is accurate as of 14 February 2023