Multinational companies are withdrawing from Russia, but fish feed deliveries are continuing

Aslak Berge

Sales of sneakers, coffee, burgers, bookshelves and beer have been cut, but fish feed for the cages in the heavily militarized fjords on the Kola peninsula have not stopped.

Going east at a speed of nine knots, the freighter “Aleksander Gusev” has picked up feed at salmon feed supplier Cargill’s factory at Bergneset, Northern Norway, and is heading for the Russian port city of Murmansk. On Monday, the vessel will cross the Varangerfjord. It will arrive in Murmansk, ready to unload, on Tuesday morning.

Foreign farmers no longer supply salmon to the large Russian market. Suppliers in Chile and the Faroe Islands withdrew shortly after the attack on Ukraine. The remaining ones, in Norway, Canada and Scotland, halted exports in 2014.

In order to serve salmon at Russian sushi bars and restaurants, the country has to arrange it themselves, with fish farmers Russian Aquaculture and Russian Salmon requiring fish feed or risk having to cease their activities.

“Aleksander Gusev” goes in shuttle traffic. The 29-year-old cargo boat has taken on the job of transporting the feed from Cargill’s and Skretting’s factories in northern Norway, and into the fjord arms of the Kola peninsula, whose secret naval bases and military infrastructure make western visitors unwanted and very limited.

The original battle plan was to occupy the Ukrainian capital Kyiv within three days but the Russian offensive got stuck. The armored columns met a startlingly fierce resistance from Ukrainian artillery, armored defense and infantry. In recent days, the Russian divisions have withdrawn from the western front near Kyiv. They are regrouping to put harder pressure on the eastern front, especially the mineral-rich industrial regions of Donbas and Luhansk.

Among those withdrawing from the fighting near Kyiv are troops and tanks from the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade, which is usually stationed in heavily militarized Pechenga, ten miles from the Norwegian border.

Out on the Pechengafjord, fish farms float with feed rafts and plastic cages from Norwegian suppliers, Norwegian-produced smolt swim in the cages and soon they will be served a diet of feed pellets from Norwegian fish feed factories.

The Russian withdrawal over the weekend has uncovered mass graves and arbitrary executions of civilians. In Bucha, just northwest of Kyiv, Western journalists could see and document the situation with their own eyes a double-digit number of civilians lying shot and killed in the streets. Mass graves with nearly 300 bodies have also been found, according to Ukrainian authorities.

It is part of the series of testimonies about torture, rape and broken apartment blocks. Heavy artillery, fighter jets and cruise missiles take care of the rough work. The infantry takes care of the rest.

Unreal and barbaric scenes are being witnessed in Europe in 2022.

Escape the country
So, how do Western companies with businesses in Russia respond to the war of aggression and the aggression in Ukraine?

Nike has already closed all its stores in Russia. They see that they can no longer sell sneakers to Russian consumers. It is not justifiable. It is not solely a business choice, based on business economics, it is a moral choice.

McDonald’s has shut its restaurants, with 62,000 employees losing their jobs. They realize that they can no longer serve burgers in Russia.

“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe have caused indescribable suffering to innocent people,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement on the fast-food giant’s exit.

Starbucks has also discontinued its operations in the country. They too see that they can not continue to serve coffee in a country.

IKEA has closed the doors to its department stores, seeing 15,000 employees lose their jobs. IKEA can not continue to sell furniture in Russia.

Heineken shut up shop, with large losses, to end its activity in Russia.

“Following the previously announced strategic review of our business, we have concluded that Heineken’s ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable or viable in today’s environment. As a result, we have decided to leave Russia, “the company said in a statement.

The beer brewery takes into account that trust and international relations have changed radically this spring.

The American raw material giant Cargill owns the feed factory on Bergneset. The company has no plans to end feed deliveries to Kola – or source feed materials from the grain fields in southern Russia.

“Cargill continuously monitors and assesses the situation in Russia. Throughout Cargill’s 157-year history, there are two constant things: We put people first and prioritize the safety of our employees and we do everything we can to provide the world with food,” communications manager Kjartan Mæstad wrote in an email to SalmonBusiness.

“Due to the conflict, Cargill has reduced its business operations and stopped all investments. Cargill will continue to operate a central food and feed business in Russia as long as it is safe, possible and legal. Feed for all animals is considered central in this context. Profits from this central business in Russia go to emergency aid,” Mæstad added.


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