McDonald’s has “temporarily” closed the three outlets it owns in Crimea following the region’s annexation by Russia.
It said the hope is they will reopen in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta as soon as possible, but also offered staff redundancy payoffs or financial help relocating to jobs in mainland Ukraine.
The fast-food chain did not link the shutdowns directly to Moscow’s action saying only the closures were due to “Operational reasons beyond our control”.
One local did not seem too bothered saying: “McDonald’s closing down – I think all sensible people are happy about that, all people who care about their health, about healthy food.”
The annexation has worried companies with assets in Crimea – a major tourist destination – as it is unclear how their business could be impacted.
The McDonald’s closures prompted ultra-nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky to call for all of its restaurants in Russia to be shut.
“It would be good if they closed here too … if they disappeared for good. Pepsi-Cola would be next,” Russian media quoted Zhirinovsky as saying. He is the deputy speaker of the Russian parliament.
A Russian backlash again the chain would have a significant impact on its profits, but would also hit Russian food suppliers to McDonald’s.
McDonald’s currently operates more than 400 restaurants in the country and sees Russia as one of its top seven major markets outside the United States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report.