As war in Ukraine intensifies, Nestlé suspends sales of KitKat, other products in Russia

FOX Business Flash top headlines for March 23

Here are your FOX Business Flash top headlines for March 23.

Nestlé is suspending a "vast majority" of products from sale in Russia and will only focus on providing essential items as the war in Ukraine persists, the company announced Wednesday.

"We are suspending the vast majority of our pre-war volume of products in Russia, which includes categories such as pet food, coffee and confectionery," a Nestlé spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. 

This includes "renowned Nestlé brands such as KitKat and Nesquik, among others," according to a separate note on its website.

KitKat chocolate bar (iStock / iStock)

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Nestlé will only "focus on providing essential food, such as infant food and medical/hospital nutrition – not on making a profit," the spokesperson added. 

The company has six factories in Russia, all geared toward pet food, coffee, confectionery and infant nutrition sales. 

Swiss food giant Nestle CEO Ulf Mark Schneider (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Swiss company told FOX Business that its factories were still running normal operations and that it had "business continuity plans in place to ensure the continued supply of our products to consumers." 

However, it recently faced scrutiny for its decision to do so. 

Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal tweeted that he spoke with the company's CEO, Mark Schneider, about the "side effect of staying in Russian market." 

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"Talked to @Nestle CEO Mr. Mark Schneider about the side effect of staying in Russian market. Unfortunately, he shows no understanding," Shmyhal said. "Paying taxes to the budget of a terrorist country means killing defenseless children&mothers. Hope that Nestle will change its mind soon."  

According to Bloomberg, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also called out the company while giving a speech to demonstrators in Switzerland's capital on Saturday. 

However, Nestlé' said Wednesday it already halted nonessential imports and exports to Russia. The company also said it suspended advertising and "all capital investment" in the country. 

The company plans to continue to pay its Russian employees while "identifying solutions for our people and our factories in Russia." 

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"We do not expect to make a profit in the country or pay any related taxes for the foreseeable future in Russia. If any profit is made, it will be donated in its entirety to humanitarian relief organizations," the spokesperson continued.  

Nestlé' already teamed up with a Ukrainian charity and donated supplies to people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries. 

To date, it has donated 450 tons of instant food, 100 tons of infant nutrition, 10 tons of medical nutrition products and more than 50 tons of pet food and pet care products. 

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