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Ukraine designates Lithuanian food company as 'international sponsor of war'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 4, 2024 4:27 PM 2 min read
An image of the Viciunai Group office in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Viciunai Group / Facebook)
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Lithuanian food company Viciunai Group has been added to Ukraine's list of "international sponsors of war" for its continued activities in the Russian market, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) announced on Jan. 4.

The "international sponsor of war" title is designed to be "a powerful reputational tool" to encourage the exit of international business from Russia and reduce Moscow's financial ability to continue its war against Ukraine, the NACP explains on its website.

Viciunai Group, which is primarily known for its seafood-based processed food products like crab sticks, "remains one of the most favorite brands of Russian consumers" and continues to conduct "its business in Russia as usual," according to the NACP.

Following the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Lithuanian company said it would leave the Russian market.

According to the NACP, "the company continues to sponsor the war against Ukraine by paying large amounts of taxes to the budget of Putin's war machine."

In Kaliningrad Oblast, for example, the Viciunai Group employs 1,500 people at the Viciunai Rus production plant. The net profit of Viciunai Rus increased by 156%, up to $20 million, in 2022, according to the NACP.

The net profit of all the Russian companies of Viciunai Group in 2022 amounted to 24.87 million euros, Lithuanian news outlet LRT reported in August 2023.

This is "several times more than in 2021, when 8.76 million euros ($9.58 million) were earned," according to LRT.

"Viciunai is conducting its business in Russia as usual without any layoffs, successfully defending the Russian trademark in court, and continuing to recruit staff for its subsidiaries, supporting the labor market in Russia," the NACP said.

The NACP has designated Belgian gas company Fluxys, German building materials manufacturer Knauf, and multinational food giant Nestle to its list of "international sponsors of war" in recent months.

In total, 48 companies are currently included on the list.

Ukraine’s effort to isolate Russia’s economy through ‘International Sponsors of War’ list
Editor’s Note: This story was sponsored by the Ukrainian think-tank Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM). What do a Snickers bar, an Oreo cookie, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream have in common? Apart from being beloved sweet treats, these products are manufactured by companies that were named “i…
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