Apple, Ford, Other Big US Brands Join Corporations Shunning Russia

Some of America's best-known companies including Apple, Google, Ford, Harley-Davidson and Exxon Mobil rebuked and rejected Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, under steady pressure from investors and consumers decrying the violence.

Late Tuesday, Apple said it had stopped sales of iPhones and other products in Russia, adding that it was making changes to its Maps app to protect civilians in Ukraine.

Tech firms including Alphabet's Google dropped Russian state publishers from their news, and Ford Motor, with three joint venture factories in Russia, told its Russian manufacturing partner it was suspending operations in the country. Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson suspended shipments of its bikes.

Exxon wants out of Russia

Exxon Mobil Corp said it would discontinue operations in Russia and was taking steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 venture, following in the steps of British energy giants Shell and BP, Russia's biggest foreign investor.

Many corporations have been unusually clear in their condemnation of Russia.

"We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence," Apple said in a statement.

The steady drum beat of companies taking a stance increased later in the day as rockets struck major cities in Ukraine.

"Ford is deeply concerned about the invasion of Ukraine and the resultant threats to peace and stability. The situation has compelled us to reassess our operations in Russia," Ford said, adding to several days of announcements by global car companies.

"We deplore Russia's military action that violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine and endangers its people," said Exxon, adding it will not invest in new developments in Russia.

Boeing suspends support program

Boeing suspended parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines, a Politico reporter tweeted. The U.S. planemaker suspended major operations in Moscow and will also temporarily closed office in Kyiv, the tweet said. Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Restrictions from the West have hit the Russian economy hard, with the ruble falling as much as a third to a record low. Financial isolation is rising as shipping companies say they will not serve Russian ports.

The U.S. government is expected to ban Russian flights from American airspace as soon as Wednesday, government and industry officials told Reuters.

And a boom of investor interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors is making it more difficult for those companies that sit on the sidelines.

Russian companies are in particular peril with such Western investors, since they often are not open to talks to change their behavior, said TJ Kistner, vice president at Segal Marco Advisors, a large U.S. pension consultant.

Investors continue to leave

Western investors may respond by pulling out.

"The only course of action for many is simply divestment," Kistner said.

Moscow has responded by temporarily curbing foreign investors from selling Russian assets.

Big Tech companies also are continuing efforts to stop Russian forces from taking advantage of their products.

Apple said it had blocked app downloads of some state-backed news services outside of Russia.

Microsoft earlier said it would remove Russian state-owned media outlet RT's mobile apps from its Windows App store and ban ads on Russian state-sponsored media. Google barred RT and other Russian channels from receiving money for ads on websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook.

Source: Voice of America