SIMFEROPOL, CRIMEA – Crimeans discovered to their chagrin Friday that they will have to live without Big Macs for a while after McDonald’s suspended operations on the Crimean Peninsula after it was annexed by Russia.
The omnipresent U.S. fast-food chain said in a statement, posted on its Ukrainian website and taped to the front doors of its shuttered restaurants, that the decision was taken “for manufacturing reasons beyond the company’s control.”
The news hit 21-year-old Lilia especially hard because she had been happily employed at McDonald’s until Thursday and had no suspicion that she was about to be out of work.
“They told us that we would be closing because Kiev was no longer sending us any ingredients,” she said as a blond girl next to her pulled at the restaurant’s locked door in vain.
Yet the move out of Crimea by the world’s biggest hamburger maker reflects a much broader uncertainty among Western firms about their positions in Russia following the Kremlin’s military intervention in Ukraine.
Washington and the European Union have both imposed targeted punitive measures against Moscow officials and threatened broader economic sanctions that could affect the operations of McDonald’s and other companies that have a broad Russian presence.
McDonald’s insisted that it wants to reopen the stores “as soon as there is an opportunity.”