French firms under fire for continuing commercial operations in Russia

French firms Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Decathlon have been criticised by Ukrainian officials for continuing to maintain operations in Russia.

The logo of French retailer Auchan is pictured on a shopping centre in Moscow.
The logo of French retailer Auchan is pictured on a shopping centre in Moscow. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister called on Sunday for people to boycott the supermarket. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Sunday for a global boycott of French retail giant Auchan, with pressure mounting on international brands to quit Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Apparently, job losses in Russia are more important than the loss of life in Ukraine. If Auchan ignores 139 Ukrainian children murdered during this month of Russian invasion, let us ignore Auchan and all their products,” he wrote on Twitter.

Kuleba called for a “boycott” of the retail group as well as French DIY retailer Leroy Merlin and sporting chain Decathlon, all of which operate under the Association Familiale Mulliez.

Auchan CEO Yves Claude this week defended the company’s decision to remain in Russia citing the need to keep staff employed.

“Leaving would be imaginable from an economic point of view, but not from a human point of view,” he told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

According to its company website, Auchan has 41,000 employees and operates more than 300 stores in Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used an address to France’s parliament last Wednesday to call on French companies still working in Russia to “stop sponsoring” aggression against his country.

He named in particular Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Renault. The car giant subsequently announced an immediate suspension of operations at its Moscow factory.

Member comments

  1. Life goes on and business is business. Just because someone thinks it’s more important to appear on video screens around the world, then throws his toys out of the pram because he cannot get what he wants, then sitting down and finding an end to this conflict. Certainly does not make him a good leader, but someone with a very large ego that is putting himself before his people.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.