“I am told Shell discreetly bought some Russian oil yesterday. One question to @Shell: doesn’t smell Russian oil [of] Ukrainian blood for you?,” Kuleba wrote in a tweet.
In a statement published shortly afterwards, Shell defended the purchase and said it would choose alternatives to Russian oil wherever possible, but this could not happen overnight because of how significant Russia is to global supply.
It added: “We didn’t take this decision lightly and we understand the strength of feeling around it.”
Shell said it would give any profits from the limited amount of Russian oil it has to purchase to a dedicated fund, and together with aid agencies would determine where those funds would best be used to help alleviate hardship suffered by the people of Ukraine.
Russian people have already been hit hard by heavy sanctions and financial penalties imposed by the US government and others.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, the value of the Russian currency, the ruble, has plunged by more than a third to a record low. That’s pushing up inflation for Russian households, and all the fear has helped cause long lines at ATMs.
Many other companies around the world have also made moves to increase the financial pressure on Russia and its people because of its attack on Ukraine. Some are selling their stakes in Russian companies, such as energy giant BP, while others like Harley-Davidson halted product shipments to the country.
Many other companies, such as Volkswagen and Ikea, have suspended business there and pressure has grown on other brands to do the same. New York’s pension fund chief Thomas DiNapoli has in recent days written letters to several companies, including McDonald’s, PepsiCo and Estee Lauder, asking them to consider pausing their operations in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday compared the West’s sanctions on Russia to “declaring war”.
“This war and the ongoing threat to peace and stability demand we respond in line with our values,” Visa’s Kelly said.
The moves by Mastercard and Visa could make real differences to their bottom lines. Russia accounted for 4 per cent of all of Visa’s net revenue in its last fiscal year, including money made from domestic and cross-border activities. Ukraine accounted for about 1 per cent, Visa said in a filing with US securities regulators this week.
Mastercard said in its own filing that about 4 per cent of its net revenues during 2021 came from business conducted within, into and out of Russia. Another roughly 2 per cent was related to Ukraine.
Associated Press, Reuters