As hundreds of firms abandon operations worth billions in Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, some Western companies have maintained their Russian operations.
Koch Industries, owned by influential billionaire Charles Koch, is an example of a Western company keeping its operations open in Russia.
The company’s president and COO, Dave Robertson, wrote an open letter condemning the invasion of Ukraine while explaining the decision to stay put in Russia.
“The horrific and abhorrent aggression against Ukraine is an affront to humanity,” Roberts wrote. “It violates our company’s values and principle, which are grounded in the fundamental truth that the system most conducive to human wellbeing, progress, civility, and peace, is one based on respect for the dignity of the individual, the consistent rule of law and the right to freely exchange goods and services. Principles always matter, and they matter most when they are under pressure.”
Roberts stated that the wellbeing and safety of their employees is the company’s top priority, especially those in Ukraine and Russia.
The company has reportedly been providing financial assistance to employees and their families from Ukraine and humanitarian aid to those affected in neighboring countries, CNN Business reports.
Guardian Industries, a subsidiary of Koch, is currently operating two glass manufacturing facilities in Russia, employing around six hundred people. Koch does not have any other physical assets in Russia apart from Guardian Industries.
“While Guardian’s business in Russia is a very small part of Koch, we will not walk away from our employees there or hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government so it can operate and benefit from them,” Koch said in a statement. “Doing so would only put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good.”
Koch has stated that they are currently complying with all applicable sanctions, laws, and ongoing regulations in Russia, the Washington Post reports.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you updated as needed,” the company stated.