Russia proposes nationalising foreign-owned factories that shut operations

Secretary of the United Russia Party's General Council Andrey Turchak speaks during a news conference in Donetsk, Ukraine February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

COPENHAGEN, March 8 (Reuters) - A senior member of Russia's ruling party has proposed nationalising foreign-owned factories that shut down operations in the country over what the Kremlin calls a special military operation in Ukraine.

Several foreign companies including Ford (F.N) and Nike have announced temporary shutdowns of stores and factories in Russia in order to put pressure on the Kremlin to stop its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine and as their supply chains are disrupted. read more

In a statement published on Monday evening on the United Russia website, the secretary of the ruling party's general council Andrei Turchak said shutting operations was a "war" against the citizens of Russia.

The statement mentioned Finnish privately owned food companies Fazer, Valio and Paulig as the latest to announce closures in Russia.

"United Russia proposes nationalising production plants of the companies that announce their exit and the closure of production in Russia during the special operation in Ukraine," Turchak said.

"This is an extreme measure, but we will not tolerate being stabbed in the back, and we will protect our people. This is a real war, not against Russia as a whole, but against our citizens," he said.

"We will take tough retaliatory measures, acting in accordance with the laws of war," Turchak said.

Paulig Chief Executive told Reuters in an email this would not change its plans to withdraw from Russia. Fazer and Valio did not wish to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Fazer, which makes chocolate, bread and pastries, has three bakeries in St Petersburg and one in Moscow, employing around 2,300 people.

Valio has a cheese factory and employs 400 people in Russia, and Paulig has a coffee roastery and employs 200 people in the country.

Last week, non-NATO member Finland, which shares a border with Russia, agreed to strengthen security ties with the United States as it nervously watches Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; additional reporting by Essi Lehto, editing by Ed Osmond, Kirsten Donovan and Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.