Mar 3, 2022 - World

Ikea pauses operations in Russia and Belarus

A lit sign outside IKEA Khimki, a branch of IKEA in the town of Khimki, Moscow Region.

Photo: Sergei Fadeichev/TASS via Getty Images

Ikea is temporarily closing its stores in Russia and pausing all exports and imports in the country and ally Belarus, the company announced Thursday, as Russian forces escalate their assault on Ukraine.

Why it matters: Ikea, the world's largest furniture brand, is the latest global business to cut ties with Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Driving the news: "The devastating war in Ukraine is a human tragedy, and our deepest empathy and concerns are with the millions of people impacted," Ikea said in a statement.

  • "The war has had a huge human impact already. It is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions. For all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause IKEA operations in Russia."
  • Ingka Group, the owner of most Ikea stores around the world, said its numerous malls in Russia, called "Mega," will remain open "to ensure that the many people in Russia have access to their daily needs and essentials such as food, groceries and pharmacies," per the statement.
  • The decision to pause operations in Russia affects 15,000 employees. Ingka Group retail operations manager Tolga Oncu said that all staff would get paid for at least the next three months, Reuters reports. The company operates 17 Ikea stores in the country.

The big picture: Giant global businesses in every sector are abandoning Russia over the invasion, Axios' Hope King reports.

  • Companies that have suspended operations or are cutting ties with Russian entities include Boeing, Ford, Exxon Mobil and Adidas.

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