Koch Industries defends presence in Russia, condemns attack on Ukraine
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Facing criticism for maintaining a presence in Russia, leadership from Koch Industries on Wednesday, March 16, issued a statement clarifying the Wichita-based international company’s position, defending its stance, and condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
A report from CBS News drawing attention to the second largest privately-owned business in America singles out Koch for “staying put” in Russia as hundreds of major U.S. companies exit Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“The horrific and abhorrent aggression against Ukraine is an affront to humanity. It violates our company’s values and principles, which are grounded in the fundamental truth that the system most conducive to human wellbeing, progress, civility, and peace is one based on respect for the dignity of the individual, the consistent rule of law and the right to freely exchange goods and services. Principles always matter, and they matter most when they are under pressure,” the statement from Koch Industries President and COO Dave Robertson began.
Robertson said the “health, safety and wellbeing” of all the company’s employees, regardless of the country they’re in, is its top priority. This includes employees in Ukraine and Russia and “thousands more across Europe at various Koch companies.”
“Since the conflict started, Koch has provided financial assistance to employees and their families from Ukraine and humanitarian aid to those affected in neighboring countries, and we will continue to do so,” Robertson said.
In Russia, Robertson’s statement explains Koch company Guardian Industries operates two glass manufacturing facilities, employing about 600 people.
“We have no other physical assets in Russia, and outside of Guardian, employ 15 individuals in the country,” Robertson said.
While Guardian is a small piece to Koch, Robertson said the company “will not walk away from our employees there or hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government.”
“Doing so would only put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good,” he said.
The CBS News report also lists some political groups supported by Koch Industries Chairman and CEO Charles Koch, that are accused of making a public case against imposing economic sanctions against Russia.
On behalf of the company, Robertson concluded his statement by saying, “Koch companies are complying with all applicable sanctions, laws and regulations governing our relationships and transactions within all countries where we operate. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you updated as needed.”
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