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Burger King cuts off corporate support for Russian market

Burger King has suspended all corporate support to the Russian market in response to the war in Ukraine, parent company Restaurant Brands International (RBI) announced Thursday.

The Toronto-based fast food chain operator has 800 fully franchised Burger King locations in Russia that are managed and operated by a local master franchisee. The company previously announced this week that it would redirect all its profits from its Russian locations towards humanitarian efforts supporting Ukraine.

RBI (QSR)(QSR.TO) went a step further on Thursday and said Burger King will cut off support for operations, marketing and the supply chain in Russia. The company will also refuse approvals for further investment and expansion of the Burger King brand in Russia.

It is not clear if the master franchisee in Russia will continue to run the Burger King locations without corporate support. A spokesperson for RBI previously said that Burger King Russia is a standalone business operated by local franchisees with long-standing legal agreements "that are not easily changeable."

NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 17, 2020: A Burger King fast food joint at a food court at the Aura shopping and recreation center. Food courts and cinemas in shopping malls in Novosibirsk have resumed work suspended in November amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Kirill Kukhmar/TASS (Photo by Kirill Kukhmar\TASS via Getty Images)
RBI has cut off corporate support for Burger King in Russia. (Photo by Kirill Kukhmar\TASS via Getty Images)

RBI, which also operates Tim Hortons, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs, has been facing mounting pressure to shutter operations in Russia in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Many major peers have already temporarily suspended operations in Russia, including McDonald's and Starbucks.

RBI, which operates in U.S. dollars, said it will commit $3 million to immediately support Ukrainian refugees and donate $1 million to the United Nations refugee agency. It also said that Burger King franchisees in more than 25 European countries are partnering with local organizations to distribute $2 million worth of Whopper meal vouchers for Ukrainian refugees.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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