Kerry Group has announced the suspension of its operations in Russia and Belarus following “consultation with stakeholders”.

The agri-food business said today (Monday, April 4) that it “has continuously monitored the unfolding situation in Ukraine and we are horrified at the escalation of the humanitarian crisis”.

It highlighted that, over the last number of weeks, it had scaled back activities in both Russia and Belarus, the latter of which is accused of assisting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

“Following extensive ongoing consultation with stakeholders, the group announced today that it is suspending its operations in Russia and Belarus,” the agri-food business said.

Kerry added the suspension will be handled in an orderly manner, and that it will continue to pay its employees and fulfil its legal obligations during the period of the suspension.

The decision comes following a written communication to Kerry chief executive Edmond Scanlon from Irish Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher on Friday (April 1), in which the latter called on the former to shut Kerry’s Russian operations.

Kelleher had said: “There comes a point when business needs must give way to a company’s moral obligations.”

Kerry Group had already said it had scaled back its operations in Russia and Belarus.

The group had said it paused capital investment in Russia and Belarus and stopped all exports out of the region, as well as suspended the production of its branded products in the area.

The company had said that it “recognises its critical role in the food chain and its responsibility across all markets”, and that it will “continue to evaluate all dimensions of this ongoing crisis”.

The war in Ukraine is having a significant impact on farming and agriculture across Europe and in Ireland.

On Friday, it emerged that Ireland was being asked to review its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan for 2023 to 2027 in light of the war in Ukraine.

Nineteen member states, including Ireland, received observation letters last week from the European Commission in response to their draft plans.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said that “it is clear that the commission has carried out a comprehensive assessment of our draft Strategic Plan” and that the request to review the plan with the war in mind “is something we will reflect on further”.