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British company to cooperate with mobilization in Russia

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Unilever will allow its employees to be summoned for military service if necessary

Unilever will allow its Russian employees to be called up for military service if required, the British consumer goods giant recently stated. The company has already been condemned by the Ukrainian government for continuing to operate in Russia.

In a letter to a collective of Ukrainian and Western NGOs earlier this month, Unilever said that it would fully comply with a Russian law requiring all companies operating in the country to permit the conscription of employees, should they be called for military service.

“We always comply with all the laws of the countries we operate in,” Unilever said in the letter, which was published by the BBC on Sunday.

Unilever stopped exports and imports to and from Russia last March, and halted investment, advertising, and further projects in the country. However, it continued to manufacture and sell what it described as “vital food and hygiene products” in Russia, a decision that saw it branded “an international sponsor of war” by the Ukrainian government earlier this month.

In the letter explaining its stance on mobilization, Unilever stated that while it “condemns the war in Ukraine as a brutal, senseless act by the Russian state,” the company chose not to withdraw and see its operations nationalized, or to sell its Russian division and see Moscow take a cut of the proceeds from the sale.

Unilever – which manufactures Domestos cleaning products, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Dove soap, and some 400 other brands of food and household chemicals – employs around 3,000 people in Russia. 

Russia announced a partial mobilization last September, calling to arms some 300,000 reservists. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that there is currently no need for another mobilization drive. However, the Russian military continues to recruit around 1,300 contract soldiers every day, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said last month.

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