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Russian Chocolate Factory Owned By Poroshenko To Close, Lay Off 700


The Roshen Confectionery Corporation plant near Lipetsk

A chocolate maker owned by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced on January 20 that it is planning to shut its factory in Russia for "economic and political reasons" and lay off 700 workers.

The move came after a barrage of criticism in Kyiv questioning why Poroshenko, who made his fortune with his Roshen candy empire, was maintaining business activities in Russia while the two nations are in armed conflict.

Roshen said that it will halt production at its factory in Lipetsk and let go 700 workers. It said output has been falling there because of Russian market restrictions and "pressure" by local authorities that the company said stemmed from Moscow.

Poroshenko last year put his confectionery empire in a trust, saying that it was too difficult to sell the asset during the deep economic downturn engulfing both Russia and Ukraine.

Relations between the two ex-Soviet neighbors broke off after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and provided backing for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine imposed sanctions on Moscow for its aggression and Moscow banned Ukrainian imports, including Roshen candy, in retaliation.

Even so, President Vladimir Putin said last fall said that Roshen was welcome to keep operating in Russia.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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