French carmaker Renault announced on Wednesday that it is immediately suspending its industrial activities in Russia, hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on French companies still present to leave the country in response to the war against Ukraine.
The Renault Group announced in a statement that its board of directors decided to suspend “as of today” the activities of the Renault factory in Moscow. He also explained that the group is evaluating “the possible options” for its participation in the Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz, “acting responsibly with its 45,000 employees in Russia.”
The French manufacturer recalled that it has already implemented the necessary measures to “respect the international sanctions” that the European Union and the United States have imposed against Russia after its aggression against Ukraine.
Following Renault’s announcement, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba, applauded the French group’s decision on Twitter to cease its industrial activities in Russia. “Responsible move amid Russia’s ongoing barbaric aggression against Ukraine,” the minister considered.
Hours earlier, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy had appealed to the same social network to boycott Renault for its decision to remain in Russia. “Renault refuses to withdraw from Russia. “Mistakes must come at a price, especially when they are repeated. I call on customers and companies around the world to boycott Groupe Renault,” the head of Ukrainian diplomacy said hours before Renault’s announcement.
Zelensky on Wednesday urged French companies still operating in Russia to leave the country. French companies must remove the Russian market. Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin, and others must stop being sponsors of the Russian war machine. French companies must stop financing the murder of children, women, rape. Everyone must remember that values are worth more than profits,” Zelensky said in a videoconference speech to both chambers of the French Parliament.
Unlike Renault, Adeo, the company that owns the Leroy Merlin DIY stores, has decided to maintain its activities in Russia, although it recalled that “since the beginning of the conflict it has suspended new investments in that country.”
Adeo explained in a statement sent to the AFP press agency that making this decision “has not been easy.” He argues that the closing of Leroy Merlin’s doors in Russia, its second market after France, would amount to “a premeditated bankruptcy” that would open “the way to an expropriation that would strengthen the financial circles in Russia.” “We have no reason to condemn our Russian teams for a war that they did not choose,” added the company that owns Leroy Merlin.