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A view of a McDonald's restaurant in Moscow on May 16 2022. U.S. fast food restaurant chain McDonald's announced that it will exit the Russian market, where it had been operating for more than 30 years, after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. (Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The combined total of losses for foreign companies that exited Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has exceeded $107 billion, Reuters reported on March 28, citing analyses of the companies' financials.

After the launch of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia saw an exodus of Western companies reluctant to contribute to the country's economy and war effort. At the same time, many others have stayed or returned after a temporary hiatus.

While the Kremlin could do little to stop them leaving, it imposed stricter exit requirements, including approval from a special government commission, a 50% discount on sales, and an "exit tax" worth at least 10% of the sale. Reuters reported that these measures have netted the Kremlin at least $385 million since the beginning of 2024 alone.

The exit measures, combined with writedowns, lost revenue, and other factors, account for the staggering figure, Reuters found. The Russian government has also outright seized assets belonging to subsidiaries of Western companies operating in Russia.

The actions taken against the companies have been viewed as a form of retaliation from Russia for the West's freezing of around $300 billion of the Russian central bank's assets since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Washington, Brussels, and Kyiv have long discussed legal ways of channeling these funds to aid Ukraine's reconstruction efforts but have yet to finalize a plan. There are additional concerns that seizing the funds could provoke further retaliation.

At the same time, the EU has moved forward with a proposal to use profits generated from the frozen funds to purchase weapons for Ukraine.

The Russian state-run media outlet RIA Novosti claimed in January 2024 that such retaliatory measures could cost the West around $288 billion, basing the figure on the purported total amount of direct Western investment into the Russian economy at the end of 2022.

The figure could not be independently verified.

Russians still enjoying American burgers and sandwiches as companies refuse to leave
After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, most major Western fast-food chains closed up shop, sold off assets, and exited the Russian market. This was particularly true of the highly visible food sector. Major Western food and drink chains, including McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hu…
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