- Özgür Töre
German multinational pharmaceutical company Bayer has stopped all non-essential business in Russia and Belarus amid the Russian war on Ukraine.
These include suspending all advertising and other promotional activities, halting capital investment projects indefinitely, and not pursuing any new business opportunities.
The company, however, said in the statement that it will ensure continued access to health and agriculture products.
"Deliveries are focused on medicines and essential health products, i.e. for infants and children. Crop supplies for the 2023 growing season are contingent on peace," it said in a tweet on Monday.
The company has an "ethical obligation" in every country it operates, it added.
"Withholding essential health and agriculture products from the civilian populations – like cancer or cardiovascular treatments, health products for pregnant women and children as well as seeds to grow food – would only multiply the war’s ongoing toll on human life," the statement also said.
"By supplying farmers around the globe, we want to support protecting food supply chains from further disruption and help to prevent what could be an unprecedented food crisis," it added.
The company noted that it has already provided essential agricultural inputs to farmers in Russia for the 2022 growing season to alleviate additional pressure on the global food system.
"Nevertheless, we will closely monitor the political situation and decide about supplies for 2023 and beyond at a later stage, depending on Russia stopping its unprovoked attacks on Ukraine and returning to a path of international diplomacy and peace," it said.
Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has drawn international condemnation, led to severe financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.
At least 636 civilians have been killed and 1,125 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, and over 3 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries, according to UN estimates.