TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As some Americans and politicians across the country call for the removal of Russian vodka and other products amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine, one vodka brand is making it clear where they stand.
The Stoli Group, the manufacturers of Stolichnaya vodkas, announced on its website Monday that they condemn the military action in Ukraine and stand in support of the Ukrainian people.
The company posted a statement on its homepage along with the outline of a dove in blue and yellow – the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The statement, which includes the hashtags “Liberate Ukraine” and “Stand with Ukraine,” says the group has had a “long history of fighting oppressions from the Russian regime.”
According to the statement, the Stoli brand and its owner, Yuri Shefler, were exiled from Russia about 20 years ago.
“As the Founder of SPI Group of companies, I have personally experienced persecution by the Russian authorities and I share the pain of Ukraine and its people,” Shefler said.
Stoli also made clear that their vodka is not manufactured in Russia. According to its website, the vodka is manufactured and bottled in Latvia. The company’s CEO said it doesn’t have any operations in Russia but does in Ukraine.
“The safety and security of our Ukrainian team is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation closely and are already moving swiftly and decisively to provide support where needed, both to our people on the ground as well as partners,” CEO Damian McKinney said. “While we do not have any operations in Russia, we do in Ukraine and across many of the bordering countries.”
The CEO added that the company is “inspired” by Russians who have protested the attack on Ukraine.
“For decades, Stoli Group has supported the marginalized and those at risk of unwarranted aggression. We stand now with all Ukrainians and Russians calling for peace,” said McKinney.
Several other companies, including FedEx and UPS, have also decided recently to not back Russia. Both companies have announced they are suspending delivery services to Ukraine and Russia as the conflict between the countries escalates.