McDonald's franchisees keep Russia restaurants open despite group's shutdown

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By AP  with Euronews
People queue inside a McDonald's restaurant at Moscow's Leningradsky train station.
People queue inside a McDonald's restaurant at Moscow's Leningradsky train station.   -   Copyright  AP

Despite the temporary closure of McDonald's restaurants in Russia, customers can still buy their fast food from a number of outlets.

Franchisees that own over 100 of the McDonald's outlets in the country have refused to close their doors.

Mcdonald's owns most of its outlets in Russia -- employing 62,000 people in more than 800 locations -- but some in railway stations and airports are owned by independent parties.

Earlier this month the corporation announced it would temporarily close down all the restaurants it owns amid Western sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

But it was business as usual on Wednesday at the McDonald's located inside Moscow's Leningradsky train station.

"Nothing has changed for us," restaurants manager Roman Yablokov told the Associated Press.

"We are a franchise organisation; we work the same as before, we are going to work tomorrow ... Nothing has changed for us."

Many Russian customers were delighted to still be able to get their McDonald's meals.

"We love McDonald's very much, it's our favourite food establishment. We came here because it's open," said Moscow resident Angelina Usmanova.

McDonald's -- including the iconic restaurant in Pushkin Square -- became a symbol of capitalism in Russia following the break up of the former Soviet Union.

But major global brands have faced pressure from customers and investors to withdraw from Russia amid the war in Ukraine.