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Apr 4, 2014|
As tensions between the United States and Russia escalate over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea peninsula, McDonald’s has closed its restaurants in the region.
The three McDonald’s restaurants in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula whose residents voted in a referendum last month to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia after 60 years, were shut down earlier this week, The Washington Post reports, citing the chain’s managers.
The Ukrainian branch of the US fast food giant, based in Kiev, said in a statement on Thursday that they had been closed for technical reasons.
The US has imposed financial and other sanctions on Russia over the Crimean dispute. But American businesses haven’t been prevented yet from operating in Russia.
Though McDonald’s managers said the closing was temporary, they offered to move employees to other jobs in Ukraine.
Crimean officials have confirmed the news.
"There were only three restaurants: near the railway station in Simferopol, on the square near the central embankment in Yalta, and in Sevastopol,” Economic Development Minister Svetlana Verba told Interfax in a telephone interview Friday.
“There is nothing horrible in that. Another structure will come in," she said. “We don't need businessmen who do not want to be friends with Crimea, those who do not understand the situation Crimea is in, and those who don't support us. We will have no problem finding those who can calmly develop this business, occupy this niche."
McDonald’s has been operating in Ukraine since 1997.
The chain faces serious problems in the United States over its employees’ wage.
On Thursday, a group of fast food workers protested wage theft outside a McDonald’s restaurant in South Los Angeles as part of a nationwide campaign to press for a minimum wage raise.
The protests came two days after two former McDonald's managers spoke out for the first time about how they were forced to steal from workers' checks.