Polish Circle K’s Help Ukrainian Refugees

Meanwhile Shell follows bp in unwinding energy partnerships in Russia.

March 01, 2022

Circle K Store

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—With more than half a million refugees fleeing Ukraine into neighboring countries, Circle K's Poland stores are offering fuel and other aid by working with the Polish Red Cross, reports OPIS.

“The fate of our friends from Ukraine is not indifferent to us, which is why starting immediate cooperation with the Polish Red Cross is a natural and obvious decision for us. We are starting aid activities so that support for those in need reaches [them] as soon as possible,” Circle K's Polish operation said in an announcement.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the parent of the Circle K convenience store chain Circle K, operates 374 stores in Poland. The company said it is providing fuel for paramedics and humanitarian aid at Poland's border with Ukraine. Its stations along the border have established priority service for rescue services.

Circle K Poland also joined Polish ride-sharing firm PANEK CarSharing to help 1,000 PANEK cars transport Ukrainians over the border, the company said. The PANEK cars can be refueled "without limit" at Circle K stations.

"The situation is extremely close to us. Among the employees of Circle K there are also people from Ukraine, which is why these days we are particularly focused on their needs and comprehensive support," the company said.

Circle K is contacting Ukrainian employees directly to see how it can provide support, offering reimbursement for medical, housing and transportation costs for Ukrainian families. It also is offering 1,200 in Polish Zloty (US$290), as well as professional psychological help, according to the company.

Shell to Exit Russia Projects

Separately, Shell announced today that its board has decided to exit its joint ventures with Gazprom, which is majority-owned by Russia, and its related entities—and end its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project. The move includes Shell’s 27.5% stake in the Sakhalin-II liquefied natural gas facility, its 50% stake in the Salym Petroleum Development and the Gydan energy venture.

“We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security,” said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, in a media statement.

The energy giant said its staff on the ground in Ukraine and nearby countries are working to manage the company’s response to the crisis on a local basis. Shell also will work with aid partners and humanitarian agencies to help in the relief effort.

“Our decision to exit is one we take with conviction,” said van Beurden. “We cannot—and we will not— stand by. Our immediate focus is the safety of our people in Ukraine and supporting our people in Russia. In discussion with governments around the world, we will also work through the detailed business implications, including the importance of secure energy supplies to Europe and other markets, in compliance with relevant sanctions.”

The news follows bp’s Sunday announcement that it would divest its nearly 20% stake in Rosneft, another Russian state-controlled oil company.

Stores Dump Russian Vodka

Meanwhile, several states in the U.S. have restricted the sale of Russian vodka, and some vodka with Russian marketing to show solidarity with Ukraine, reports The Hill.

Ohio has stopped the sale and purchase of all vodka made by Russian Standard, which is the only overseas, Russian-owned distillery with vodka sold in Ohio. New Hampshire removed Russian-made and Russian-branded spirits from liquor and wine outlets until further notice. Utah’s governor also issued an executive order restricting Russian-made products.

Texas’ governor asked retailers in his state to remove Russian products from stores shelves saying “Texas stands with Ukraine,” while Virginia removed seven Russian-sourced vodka brands from store shelves, adding that “Russian-themed brands not produced in Russia like Stolichnaya and Smirnoff will not be removed.”

Other stores and bars throughout the U.S. have ceased the sale and purchase of Russian products, with one liquor store in Kansas saying the move is a “tiny sanction.”