French company Auchan supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, report says
Investigation says some Auchan employees in Russia collected donated goods that were then sent for free to the frontlines.
PARIS — French retailer Auchan supplied Russian soldiers in Ukraine with goods such as clothes and cigarettes, a press investigation published Friday alleges.
In a joint investigation, French daily Le Monde and investigative websites Bellingcat and The Insider revealed that some Auchan employees in Russia collected donated goods that were then sent for free to the Russian army on the frontlines.
The report is based on internal emails, anonymous eyewitness accounts and social media posts that show that donations were collected in Auchan supermarkets in St. Petersburg as well as in the Russian town of Vladimir.
Auchan rejected the allegations and told Le Monde that the company “does not conduct, support or fund any charity collections for the armed forces.” Auchan’s Ukraine branch said on Facebook that it was “surprised” by the news report.
The report immediately triggered reactions from the Ukrainian government, with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba saying he would ask his French counterpart for an explanation. “Auchan has evolved into a full-fledged weapon of Russian aggression,” Kuleba said.
Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on French companies active in Russia to leave the country. While many French businesses left Russia in the months that followed, Auchan and other retail brands owned by the Mulliez family announced they would continue operating in the country. Kuleba had called for boycotting Auchan last year.
An Auchan spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.