Boeing, Exxon and Apple join Western companies that scorn Russia over Ukraine

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  • Ford suspends operations in Russia
  • Apple halts iPhone sales in Russian market
  • ESG investors are pushing Western companies to act

March 2 (Reuters) – Boeing (BA.N) has suspended maintenance and technical support for Russian airlines and U.S. energy company Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) has announced it will leave Russia, joining a growing list of Western companies rejecting Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

US tech giant Apple (AAPL.O) said it has halted sales of iPhones and other products in Russia, while Ford Motor (FN) has joined other automakers in suspending operations in the country .

Western nations have steadily tightened sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine last week, including barring some Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial network.

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The measures hammered the ruble and forced the central bank to raise interest rates, while Moscow responded to the growing exodus of Western investors by temporarily restricting sales of Russian assets by foreigners.

Russian companies, meanwhile, felt increasingly pressured. Sberbank (SBER.MM), Russia’s biggest lender, said on Wednesday it was exiting the European market as its subsidiaries faced large cash outflows. He also said the safety of his employees and property was at risk. Read more

Signaling that there will be no respite from the West, US President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “has no idea what’s to come” as he joined European states and Canada in closing US airspace to Russian planes. Read more

With international shippers such as Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), Hapag Lloyd (HLAG.DE) and MSC suspending bookings to and from Russia, the country is increasingly locked out of global trade. The sanctions also weigh on the Russian aviation sector.

Boeing announced on Tuesday it was suspending operations as other airlines face growing European and US restrictions on dealings with Russian customers, affecting aircraft leasing, exporting new planes and supplying the rooms.

CHORUS OF CONDEMNATION

Exxon said it would not invest in new developments in Russia and was taking steps to pull out of oil and gas company Sakhalin-1, after similar asset disposal moves by Britain’s BP , Russia’s largest foreign investor, and Shell Plc (SHEL.L).

However, the French company TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) refrained from saying that it would leave Russia, saying only that it would not inject new funds. Read more

Apple, which has halted sales in Russia, said it was making changes to its Maps app to protect civilians in Ukraine.

He also joined a growing chorus of Western companies openly condemning Russian actions.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all those who suffer because of the violence,” Apple said.

“We deplore Russia’s military action that violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity and endangers its people,” Exxon said, while Ford said in his sentencing: “The situation has forced us to reassess our operations in Russia”.

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson Inc has suspended shipments of its motorcycles to Russia.

Growing investor interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues has increased pressure on companies to act quickly in ending ties with Russia and Russian entities.

“The only course of action for many is simply divestment, said TJ Kistner, vice president of Segal Marco Advisors, a leading US retirement consultant.

Major Western tech companies said they were continuing their efforts to prevent Russia from profiting from their products.

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

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), said it blocked mobile apps connected to Russian state-funded publisher RT from its news-related features, including Google News search.

Google also banned RT and other Russian channels from receiving money for ads on websites, apps and YouTube videos, mirroring a move by Facebook (FB.O).

Microsoft (MSFT.O) said it would remove RT’s mobile apps from its Windows App Store and ban ads on Russian state-sponsored media.

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Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Ross Kerber in New York, Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Written by Peter Henderson and Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Edmund Blair

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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