Coca Cola, McDonald's and more face growing calls to pull out of Russia

Calls are growing for some of the biggest companies in the world to pull out of Russia in order to protest their invasion of Ukraine.

Dozens of major businesses have already announced they will cease trading in Russia as a result of the invasion, but some like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have not.

Russia has been heavily sanctioned by the west in recent days, which has put serious pressure on its economy.

Major businesses have had to figure out if they can still trade in Russia due to the new sanctions and have faced social and political pressure to pull out of the country regardless.

Companies like Microsoft, Google, Mastercard and Visa have all stopped trading in Russia, completely upending day to day life there.

Google and several other major tech companies have pulled out of Russia Credit: AP

Ukrainians are also pushing multinationals to cease operations in Russia.

Ukrainian supermarket chain Novus announced it would be boycotting Coca-Cola products.

In a Facebook post, they said "Our supermarket chain no longer cooperates with the Coca-Cola company, which continues to operate in the territory of the aggressor."

Several other Ukrainian supermarkets have made similar announcements.Hashtags like #BoycottCocaCola and #BoycottPepsi have also been trending on social media.

As well as pressure from below, the companies have faced pressure from their investors to take action over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

New York state's pension fund chief said last week Pepsi, Coca Cola and McDonald's along with several other companies should cease their operations in Russia.

The fund manages over £200bn in investments and own shares in all the companies mentioned.

In a letter to the companies, the head of the fund said pausing or ending operations in Russia "would address various investment risks associated with the Russian market and play an important role in condemning Russia's role in fundamentally undermining the international order that is vital to a strong and healthy global economy.

Over in the UK, Lord John Mann said on Twitter: "If Mcdonalds and Starbucks continue to sell in Russia then an international boycott of their products should be instigated."

Businesses like McDonald's and Starbucks operate on a franchise system, meaning they will not be in direct control of all their branches making stopping their operations there more difficult.

However both companies do directly own some of their branches, and it would be within their power to shut those if they wished.

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McDonald's, Coca Cola and PepsiCo have all so far not commented on the issue, all three were among the first western companies to begin operating in Russia towards the end of the Soviet Union.

Coca Cola announced last week it would be donating €1 million to support the Red Cross in Ukraine and a further €550,000 to support refugees in neighbouring countries.

Numerous other companies across all aspects of the modern economy are also facing calls to leave the country, with many announcing they will each day.

Besides taking away their burgers and fizzy drinks attention has also turned to cryptocurrency platforms.

There are fears wealthy Russians, particularly those who have been sanctioned, could get around the new restrictions on their wealth by converting it into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and then convert them back into rubles.

There has also been a spike in interest in crypto among the general Russian population as the value of the Russian ruble plummets and access to currencies like dollars and euros are cut off.

So far the world's biggest crypto exchanges, Coinbase and Binance have resisted calls to stop trading in Russia.

"We believe everyone deserves access to basic financial services unless the law says otherwise," Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong said in a series of tweets on Friday."We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users' accounts," a spokesperson of Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchange, said in a statement to Reuters.Both exchanges have said they will comply with all sanctions and work to quell money-laundering fears, with Coinbase blocking 25,000 accounts over the weekend related to Russian individuals or entities believed to be engaged in illicit activity.