In protest of the invasion of Ukraine.
Couche-Tard is the latest company to either pull out of or pause work in Russia in protest of President Vladimir Putin's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. The Quebec-based company said on March 7 that it's suspending operations in all its stores in Russia effective immediately.
The 38 stores in Saint Petersburg, Murmansk (in northwestern Russia) and Pskov (southwest of Saint Petersburg near the border with Estonia) were operating under the Circle K brand.
"We condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the huge human impact it is having for both Ukrainians and Russians. as such, we have made the decision to suspend operations," Couche-Tard President and CEO Brian Hannasch said in a statement.
"Couche-Tard has had stores in Russia for nearly three decades, and we are proud of our Russia team members and their dedicated service to local customers and communities."
The company further stated it was "implementing plans to take care of its employees in a responsible and safe manner," but did not specify what that means.
Couche-Tard touted a $1.5 million donation to the Red Cross and a fundraising campaign to help people in Ukraine. It also says it's supporting refugees with food, fuel and housing.
A growing number of companies in Europe and North America have said they're either divesting from or ceasing operations in Russia in response to either the invasion of Ukraine or new local restrictions.
On March 4, CBC/Radio-Canada announced it had suspended reporting in Russia after the country passed legislation that the media company said "appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation."