The technology giant already suspended all shipments to customers in Russia and Belarus back in early March, just days after Russian troops began their invasion of Ukraine. The suspension was accompanied by a $1.2 million relief fund via the Intel Foundation, as well as volunteer efforts from employees based in Germany, Poland, and Romania. But Intel has a Russian workforce, too, made up of about 1,200 employees. Intel says it will support these employees as it brings its Russian operations to a halt.
“Intel continues to join the global community in condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and calling for a swift return to peace. Effective immediately, we have suspended all business operations in Russia,” the company’s release reads. “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by this war, particularly the people of Ukraine and the surrounding countries and all those around the world with family, friends and loved ones in the region.”
Intel joins a running list of over 600 companies that have pulled out of Russia, including dozens of major tech companies. Though some argue certain privately-initiated “sanctions” impact individuals more than anyone or anything else—after all, Russian citizens have already been risking their futures to protest in the streets—others think business suspensions could be vital to applying economic pressure to reconsider peace. (This isn’t to say pulling out of Russia isn’t also a good PR move, though.)
Russia, meanwhile, has been working on legalizing certain forms of crime to bypass these sanctions. The country’s Ministry of Economic Development revealed last month that it’s in the process of removing legal liability for piracy as more software and entertainment companies announce they will no longer allow purchases from Russia. The Ministry is also looking at decriminalizing intellectual property crime, allowing citizens and businesses to “use the rights to an invention, utility model, industrial design in relation to computer programs, and databases” without fear of legal action. In the meantime people have been using VPNs to mask their country of origin.
With the war wrapping up its sixth week, many are warily hoping ongoing peace talks will produce change or that Russian forces will run out of steam. Ukrainian reporters say Russian troops have been told the war must end by May 9—a chilling deadline that until then is impossible to prove.