PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte have each issued statements that they will cease operations or withdraw their member firms in Russia.
“We all continue to be shocked and horrified by the senseless war the Russian government is inflicting on Ukraine and its people,” PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz said in a statement. “Our main goal has been to help our Ukrainian colleagues and to support humanitarian efforts to help the Ukrainian people.” But that was only part of PwC’s responsibilities, Moritz said.
“We have decided that, given the circumstances, PwC should not have a member firm in Russia and therefore PwC Russia will leave the network,” he said.
“We are also committed to working with our colleagues at PwC Russia to undertake an orderly transition for the business, and with a focus on the well-being of our 3,700 colleagues at PwC Russia.”
KPMG, headquartered in the Netherlands, also announced that it would withdraw from Russia and Belarus.
“We believe we have a responsibility, along with other global companies, to respond to the Russian government’s ongoing military attack on Ukraine.”
KPMG has more than 4,500 people in Russia and Belarus and said “ending our working relationships with them, many of whom have been with KPMG for many decades, is incredibly difficult.”
“This decision does not affect them – it is a consequence of the actions of the Russian government. We are a goal-oriented, values-driven organization that believes in doing the right thing,” the company tweeted. .
Meanwhile, long queues have formed again at Russian cash machines as a growing list of international sanctions and trade decisions to pull out of the country has stoked fears that they will no longer be able to use their money for anything soon.
American Express has become the latest Western financial firm to announce the end of Russian operations. In his statement on Sunday, he cited “Russia’s continued and unjustified attack on the Ukrainian people.” The cessation of operations also hits Belarus.
It joins Mastercard and Visa, which made similar announcements on Saturday. This means that these cards will not work in Russia and, potentially worse for Russians, the cards they already own will no longer work outside of Russia.
Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, assured customers they could still shop online, withdraw funds and make payments online, noting that domestic systems can operate independently of corporate-dominated international systems Western.
But he also advised Russians living abroad to withdraw as much money as possible as quickly as possible, before the system breaks down.
Although this warning was issued to Russian expats, queues quickly formed at ATMs in Russia as well.
The Russian central bank also noted that its Mir payment card will still work in Turkey, Cyprus and a few other countries.
American Express, Mastercard and Visa were already seeing their business flow back to Russia. Many of their ATMs were already only partially operational, depending on whether customers were using an internationally or locally issued card.
Meanwhile, popular streaming site Netflix will suspend its services in Russia “given the circumstances on the ground”, the US-based company said in a statement.
The company previously announced that it would not make Russian TV channels available on the platform, contrary to regulations.
It will no longer be possible to create a new account in Russia, while existing customers will have access to the service until their next monthly payment is due.
Netflix joins a series of major international companies, including Apple, Intel, Microsoft and Puma, which have chosen to halt sales or suspend operations and services in Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
Along with the activities of Western companies, the Russian economy has also been hit by far-reaching sanctions that have cut it off from access to a significant amount of its foreign exchange reserves. The ruble has thus lost its value enormously.
Russia’s central bank insists the situation is under control, bank deposits are safe and ATMs will be replenished regardless of sanctions.
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