Russia’s invasion: PayPal suspends services, Samsung halts shipments and Zara shuts stores in country

PayPal, Samsung and Zara have become the latest companies to pull their business operations out of Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

California-based online payments giant PayPal announced on Saturday morning that it was suspending its services in Russia and standing “with the international community in condemning Russia’s violent military aggression in Ukraine”.

“Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia,” PayPal’s CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement shared with The Independent.

“PayPal supports the Ukrainian people and stands with the international community in condemning Russia’s violent military aggression in Ukraine.”

Mr Schulman said that the company “will remain steadfast in our humanitarian efforts to care for those in Ukraine who are experiencing devastating violence and tragic loss”.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, posted on Twitter a letter from the Silicon Valley giant to the Ukrainian government announcing the move and thanked the company for its support.

“So now it’s official: PayPal shuts down its services in Russia citing Ukraine aggression,” he tweeted.

“Thank you @PayPal for your support!”

PayPal had already stopped accepting new users in Russia on Wednesday.

Its latest action now stops all remaining send and receive services in the country as well as its Xoom remittances platform which is used to make international transfers.

A PayPal spokesperson told The Independent that the company will continue to work to process customer withdrawals for a period of time, “ensuring that account balances are dispersed in line with applicable laws and regulations”.

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The spokesperson said that the company was also committed to supporting humanitarian efforts for Ukrainians through its platform.

“Since the beginning of the invasion, PayPal has helped raise over $150m for charities supporting response efforts in Ukraine, one of the largest efforts we’ve seen in such a short period of time,” they said.

PayPal’s action came the same day that the world’s biggest fashion company Inditex also announced it was shutting down all 502 stores in Russia and halting online sales.

All eight brands, including Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius and Oysho, will cease to trade in the country from Sunday.

“In the current circumstances Inditex cannot guarantee the continuity of the operations and commercial conditions in the Russian Federation and temporarily suspends its activity,” the company said.

More than 9,000 Russian employees impacted by the shutdown will be assisted with a special support plan, it said.

Samsung also announced that it is pulling out of Russia, suspending shipments of all of its products.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his meeting with Aeroflot employees outside Moscow, 5 March 2022

(SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

The brand is the biggest seller of smartphones in Russia, accounting for around a third of the market.

The businesses join the ranks of a growing list of businesses including Apple, General Motors and Netflix who have already stopped operations in Russia, as the West aims to put pressure on Mr Putin.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced the US’ latest round of sanctions on Russia.

Several Russian officials including Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov were added to a list of Mr Putin’s close allies who have now been cut off from the US financial system.

Mr Biden is now facing growing pressure to cut all Russian oil imports and sanction the country’s energy sector.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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