Subway added to Ukraine’s list of “international war sponsors”

Sandwich chain Subway is now on Ukraine’s list of “international war sponsors” for continuing to run more than 500 stores across Russia and helping finance Moscow’s war against Kyiv, the Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) stated on Wednesday.

Subway actively advertises through sanctioned Russian social networks and makes deliveries through Yandex, Russia’s main search engine, the NACP said in a news release

Subway joins a tally of companies that also includes PepsiCo, Philip Morris International and Procter & Gamble in doing business in Russia, according to the anti-corruption agency.

Neither PepsiCo, Philip Morris, nor Procter & Gamble responded to request for comment.

In Russia for more than 20 years, Subway operates 550 restaurants in 122 cities in the region, making the Subway chain in Russia the third largest in Europe, and putting it on the list of those “financing the murders of Ukrainians,” according to the agency. 

Subway did not respond to a request for comment.

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When first confronted with pressure to close its operations in 2022, at the beginning of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the company declared it stood with Ukraine but that its hands were tied in pausing or halting its business in Russia, citing its franchise business model.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and we are committed to supporting those impacted by the tragic events in the region,” according to the statement published by multiple media outlets at the time. “In addition to working with our franchisees across Europe to provide meals to refugees, we will redirect any profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts supporting Ukrainians who have been affected by the war. Our restaurants in Russia are all independently owned and operated by local franchisees and managed by an independent master franchisee. We don’t directly control these independent franchisees and their restaurants.”

Sold to private equity firm Roark Capital last summer, Milford, Connecticut-based Subway is among the world’s largest restaurant chains. Roark Capital’s other brands include Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Sonic. 

Subway operates in more than 100 countries, with nearly 37,000 restaurants open globally, owned and operated by franchisees, according to the company.

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