x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Big Mac is downsized in Crimea

The situation between Russia and the West has become serious; McDonald's has pulled out of Crimea.

The impasse between Russia and the United States over Ukraine has, literally, been a blow to the stomach for the people of Crimea. Citizens of the former Ukrainian province, which has been annexed by Moscow after a hasty referendum, are being deprived of their Big Macs and fries.

The Illinois-based McDonald’s company says it has reluctantly decided to temporarily shut its three fully-owned outlets in Crimea – stressing the decision was made for business, not political, reasons. But the company is also facing calls to close all of its 400 outlets across Russia, even though most of them are operated under franchise by Russian businesses.

The diplomatic crisis has also seen Universal Postal Deutsche Post declining to accept mail addressed to Crimea, because it cannot guarantee delivery, and Nasa suspended cooperation with the Russian space programme, except in relation to the International Space Station – which must be a relief to American flight engineers Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson, who are currently orbiting Earth in the vessel.

It’d be nice to think that Big Mac diplomacy could solve the situation, but perhaps depriving Crimeans of fast food is doing them a healthy favour.