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Russian vodka boycott expands globally amid Ukraine war backlash

Calls for boycotts of Russian-made vodka in response to the invasion of Ukraine are gaining momentum in the US and abroad – with governments and business leaders alike urging stores to take the booze off their shelves. The governors of at least three US states – New Hampshire, Ohio and Utah – have taken action to limit or entirely ban the sale of Russian vodka. A number of companies across various industries have distanced themselves from Russian operations – or cut ties entirely – in response to the conflict. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the state’s commerce department block the purchase and sale of Russian Standard vodka – identified by the governor’s office as “the only overseas, Russian-owned vodka distillery with vodka sold in Ohio.” The Russian-made vodka is sold under the Green Mark Vodka and Russian Standard Vodka brands. DeWine’s office estimated there were approximately 6,400 bottles of Russian Standard vodka on sale across the state – a supply that will now be pulled from shelves. Clampdowns in the US are part of a mounting global backlash against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which has included heavy shelling of cities and military bases. Governments have responded with stiff sanctions targeting Russia’s economy – and a growing number of businesses and corporations have followed suit. Similar boycotts are underway at some grocery stores and retailers in Finland, Lithuania and Denmark, Bloomberg reported “Our boycott won’t cause big damages for the Putin’s businessmen but it’s a matter of principle — our people don’t fund those, who finance the war,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said in a statement. Australia’s Endeavour Group – the parent companies of liquor retailers Dan Murphy’s and BWS — have pulled brands originating in Russia from its network of stores, hotels and online platforms. “As an organization, Endeavour Group is deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine and we join the calls for peace,” the company, which operates more than 1,500 stores, said in a statement to ABC News in Australia. In New Zealand, the West Auckland Trusts – one of the country’s largest liquor retailers, said it would stop selling thousands of Russian-made products, including varieties of vodka and beer. The empty shelves where the Russian products were displayed will be replaced with Ukrainian flags. “While New Zealand is a comparatively small market individually, joining our counterparts in other countries around the world in boycotting the sale of these products is a statement of solidarity for the Ukrainian people,” Trusts CEO Allan Pollard said. Last Saturday, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said he had issued an executive order requiring state liquor outlets to “begin removing Russian-made and Russian-branded spirits from our liquor and wine outlets until further notice.” “New Hampshire stands with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom,” Sununu said. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued a similar directive, ordering the state’s liquor authority to remove all “Russian-produced and Russian-branded products.” “Russia’s ruthless attack on a sovereign nation is an egregious violation of human rights,” Cox said in a statement. “Utah stands in solidarity with Ukraine and will not support Russian enterprises, no matter how small the exchange.”

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