McDonald’s Pulls Out of Crimea Due to Russian Annexation

In a worrying display of America’s weakening soft power, McDonald’s announced today that it would “temporarily suspend” operations in its three locations in the newly-annexed Crimea, without indicating whether they would ever reopen.

“Due to operational reasons beyond our control, McDonald’s has taken the decision to temporarily close our three restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta,” McDonald’s said in a statement, according to Reuters. They also offered to relocate their Crimean employees and their families to Ukraine, along with their positions and three months’ housing, which may signal McDonald’s growing worries about the region’s stability.

Upon hearing the news, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the vehemently anti-Western deputy speaker of Russia’s parliament, welcomed the news, demanding that McDonald’s close its 40 Russian locations as well. “It would be good if they closed here too … if they disappeared for good,” he said, adding that he and his pro-Putin Liberal Democrat party wanted to picket the fast food chain, and possibly Pepsi-Cola.

McDonald’s is the second international corporation to suspend operations in Crimea: Deutsche Post, one of the largest postal companies in the world, announced yesterday that it would stop delivering packages in Crimea because “delivery to the region was no longer guaranteed.”

[Image via McDonald’s]

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