Kyiv has placed British consumer goods giant Unilever on Ukraine’s “International Sponsors of War” list, claiming Monday it continues to profit from operations in Russia, triggering demonstrations in London.
“The National Agency on Corruption Prevention has added British company Unilever onto its list of ‘International Sponsors of War’,” a statement said.
This was owing to its “presence in the Russian Federation and its significant taxes to the Russian state budget, thereby supporting the aggressor’s economy and contributing to the continuation of Russia’s war against Ukraine“, it added.
Unilever, whose major brands include Dove soap, Magnum ice cream and Cif surface cleaner, said it stuck to a statement it made in February, in which the company said it continued “to condemn the war in Ukraine as a brutal and senseless act by the Russian state”.
It also maintained it had ceased imports and exports of its goods into and out of Russia.
At the same time, the statement said Unilever was supplying “everyday food and hygiene products made in Russia to people in the country”, adding that “exiting is not straightforward”.
Ukrainian and British activists on Monday demonstrated outside the company’s London headquarters where a billboard, resembling an advert for Dove but which showed wounded Ukrainian soldiers, was displayed.
Unilever’s results for 2022 showed that two percent of net profit was earned thanks to its operations in Russia.
The Kyiv School of Economics estimates that Unilever last year paid at least $331 million in Russian taxes.
Campaign group Global Witness has meanwhile accused French energy giant TotalEnergies and British counterpart Shell of still profiting from Russian gas.
Questioned by AFP over the weekend claims, the two companies said they were bound by contracts, adding however they had exited Russian partnerships following Moscow’s invasion last year.