The French group Bonduelle formally denied to AFP on Monday having distributed food parcels to Russian soldiers accompanied by a message to wish them a “quick victory” in Ukraine, evoking a “fake” on social networks. On Twitter, Internet users called this weekend for a boycott of the products of the canned and frozen vegetable specialist, after the broadcast on the main Russian social network VKontakte of two photos showing packages bearing the Bonduelle logo.
These images show a person in uniform holding a cardboard Cans of the brand, accompanied by a greeting card and this message in Russian: “Dear soldier, happy new year! We wish you the best and a quick victory!”. “We do not distribute packages to soldiers,” assured the French group Monday to AFP, referring to “a fake”.
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As of Saturday, the group had assured in a press release that “this information as well as the statements attributed to the Bonduelle company and its management (were) totally false”. On the other hand, the group confirmed its participation in the “benevolence baskets” operation. Organized by the Russian food bank, it aims to collect products for the poorest and “has no connection with the army”, according to a spokeswoman for Bonduelle.
The Bonduelle group still present in Russia
A post on the VKontakte account of the Russian city of Yartsevo, since deleted, claimed that 10,000 parcels had been sent to soldiers. Bonduelle also denies the comments attributed in this publication to its general manager in Russia, Ekaterina Eliseeva, who would have also expressed her wish for a “quick victory” in Ukraine. Based on an article in the Russian edition of Forbes, some Internet users accuse her of having links with the FSB, the Russian security services with which, according to the magazine, she had trained as a translator in the years 1990.
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Bonduelle is one of the few French companies that continued their activities in Russia after the invasion of Ukraineas Leroy Merlin and Auchan (Mulliez), or even Lactalis. “The Bonduelle group is continuing its activities in Russia with the sole objective of ensuring access to food for the population in Russia and neighboring countries”, he reaffirmed on Saturday. He had however announced in March the suspension of “any investment project” in this country. The French group achieves 5% of its annual turnover (150 million euros) in Russia, where it has three factories and employs 1,000 people, as well as in neighboring countries such as Georgia and Armenia.
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Cans sent to the Russian army? In the turmoil, Bonduelle denies