KYIV, March 27 — Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called today for a global boycott of French retail giant Auchan, with pressure mounting on international brands to quit Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Apparently, job losses in Russia are more important than the loss of life in Ukraine. If Auchan ignores 139 Ukrainian children murdered during this month of Russian invasion, let us ignore Auchan and all their products,” he wrote on Twitter.

Kuleba called for a “boycott” of the retail group as well as French DIY retailer Leroy Merlin and sporting chain Decathlon, all of which operate under the Association Familiale Mulliez.

Auchan CEO Yves Claude this week defended the company’s decision to remain in Russia citing the need to keep staff employed. 

“Leaving would be imaginable from an economic point of view, but not from a human point of view,” he told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

According to its company website, Auchan has 41,000 employees and operates more than 300 stores in Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used an address to France’s parliament last Wednesday to call on French companies still working in Russia to “stop sponsoring” aggression against his country.

He named in particular Auchan, Leroy Merlin and Renault. The car giant subsequently announced an immediate suspension of operations at its Moscow factory. — AFP