Nokia withdraws from Russian market, joining mass exit

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Telecommunications giant Nokia said Tuesday it will exit the Russian market because of the invasion of Ukraine.

The Finland-based company said it took early steps to withdraw after the war began but had to calibrate its exit because it is a leading provider of telecommunications equipment to Russian companies and citizens.

“It has been clear for Nokia since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine that continuing our presence in Russia would not be possible. Over the last weeks we have suspended deliveries, stopped new business and are moving our limited R&D activities out of Russia,” the company said. “We can now announce we will exit the Russian market. During this process, our priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our employees.”

The company said it will do what it can to support the flow of critical information to the Russians, who have been fed state propaganda and left in the dark about the nature of President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

“For humanitarian reasons, Western governments have expressed concerns about the risk of critical telecommunication network infrastructure in Russia failing,” the company said. “They have also emphasized the importance of ensuring the continued flow of information and access to the internet which provides outside perspectives to the Russian people.”

Nokia told investors the decision won’t have a major financial impact on the company, since Russia accounted for less than 2% of sales in 2021.

The decision follows a similar announcement by a Swedish telecom giant, Ericsson, on Monday, meaning Russia will be losing key suppliers.

The companies are leaving as Russia, beaten back from Kyiv, prepares for another onslaught in eastern Ukraine.

U.K. intelligence officials said Tuesday that fighting in eastern Ukraine will “intensify over the next two to three weeks” and Russia will draw down troops from Belarus.

Russian attacks are focused on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk with additional fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv, and a renewed push for Kramatorsk, according to the U.K. Ministry of Defence.



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