Sandwich franchise 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.
In a press release from NACP, the agency said Subway actively advertises through sanctioned Russian social networks and makes deliveries through Yandex, Russia’s main search engine.
The Milford, Connecticut-based company now joins a list of other companies, including PepsiCo, Philip Morris International and Procter & Gamble in doing business in Russia, according to the agency.
Subway has operated in Russia for more than 20 years, with 550 restaurants in 122 cities, making the sandwich chain in Russia the third largest in Europe, and adding it to the list of those “financing the murders of Ukrainians,” according to the agency.
This is not the first time the sandwich chain has faced controversy after they were first approached with pressure to close operations in 2022, at the beginning of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Since the full-scale invasion, Subway has not reported any reduction in its operations in Russia,” the Ukrainian agency said, adding that the company still collects royalty payments from its business in Russia.
The company proclaimed that 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 released by the sandwich chain. “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.”
The company also added that their 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,” the company stated.
FOX Business reached out to Subway for comment but has not yet heard back.