(WatchDogReport.org) – Ukraine has included Subway on its list of “International Sponsors of the War,” alleging that the sandwich chain contributes to the Russian invasion by maintaining a substantial presence in Russia. The Ukrainian National Agency of Corruption Prevention (NAZK) accused Subway of funding the conflict due to its operation of more than 500 restaurants in the “aggressor’s market.”
NAZK criticized Subway for paying taxes to Russia, advertising on sanctioned Russian social networks, and utilizing Russian food delivery services. Subway is the 49th company added to the International Sponsors of the War list, which aims to exert pressure on corporations conducting business in Russia. Notable companies on the list include Nestle, PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Bacardi, Unilever, and Mars Inc. This list operates as a “soft sanction” without legal repercussions.
Subway, the third-largest sandwich chain in Europe, finds itself embroiled in controversy for continuing operations in Russia despite the ongoing conflict. The Milford, Connecticut-based company boasts 550 restaurants across 122 Russian cities. It is accused of allegedly financing the war against Ukraine by contributing to the Russian economy. Subway previously faced pressure to cease operations in Russia in 2022 and is under scrutiny for not scaling back its presence post-invasion. The Ukrainian government created the International Sponsors of the War list in 2022 to encourage multinational corporations to reconsider their business activities in Russia.
Despite the allegations, Subway maintains its stance of supporting Ukraine. The company claims it will redirect profits from its Russian operations to humanitarian efforts, including providing meals to refugees. Subway emphasizes its franchise model, asserting that its Russian franchises are independently owned and operated. The company insists it lacks direct control over these independent franchisees and their restaurants.
As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine persists, the Ukrainian government continues to use the International Sponsors of the War list as a tool to encourage corporations to reassess their involvement in Russia. Approximately 1,600 foreign companies still conduct business in Russia, making the list a mechanism to apply non-binding pressure on corporations and foster reconsideration of their engagement in the region.
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