War in Ukraine live Criticism of the Russian military hierarchy

War in Ukraine, live: Criticism of the Russian military hierarchy after the Ukrainian attack in Makiïvka

Bonduelle denies sending food parcels to Russian soldiers

French group Bonduelle officially denied to Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday that it had distributed food parcels to Russian soldiers, accompanied by a message wishing them a “quick victory” in Ukraine. “We do not distribute packages to soldiers,” the French company assured AFP on Monday, referring to “a fake”.

From Saturday, the group had promised a statement that “this information and statements are attributed to Bonduelle and his management [étaient] totally wrong”. “The Bonduelle Group continues its activities in Russia with the sole aim of ensuring access to food for the population of Russia and neighboring countries,” he affirmed on Saturday. However, in March he announced the suspension of “every investment project” in the country.

Internet users on Twitter this weekend called for a boycott of the canned and frozen vegetable specialist’s products after two photos showing packaging with the Bonduelle logo were broadcast on Russia’s main social network VKontakte. In these images, a person in uniform holds a box of branded cans, accompanied by a greeting card and this message in Russian: “Dear Soldier, Happy New Year! We wish you all the best and a quick victory! »

The group, on the other hand, confirmed their participation in Operation Baskets of Benevolence. Organized by the Russian Food Bank, it aims to collect produce for the poorest and “has no connection to the army,” according to a Bonduelle spokeswoman. A now-deleted post on the VKontakte account in the Russian city of Yartsevo claimed that 10,000 packages had been sent to the soldiers.

Bonduelle also denies the statements attributed in this publication to his Director General in Russia, Ekaterina Eliseeva, who also expressed her desire for a “quick victory” in Ukraine. Based on an article in the Russian edition of Forbes, some netizens have accused her of ties to the Russian security service FSB, where, according to the magazine, she trained as a translator in the 1990s.

Bonduelle is one of the few French companies that continued its activities in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, like Leroy-Merlin and Auchan or even Lactalis. The French group generates 5% of its annual turnover (150 million euros) in Russia, where it has three factories and employs 1,000 people, and in neighboring countries such as Georgia or Armenia.

According to the Yale School of Management list, there are still about twenty French companies in Russia.