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Knauf Exits Russia After 30 Years, Mired in Mariupol Construction Controversy

German construction materials manufacturer Knauf has announced its complete withdrawal from the Russian market. The company has been operating in Russia for over 30 years, but has cited “current events” as the reason for its departure, reports DW.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, all other major German companies have already left Russia.

Knauf has not disclosed specific reasons for halting its operations in Russia. However, the company has recently faced harsh criticism for continuing to operate in Russia and in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Following the Mariupol allegations, German authorities started investigating whether German companies like Knauf have been supplying materials for Russia’s “reconstruction” of occupied Mariupol.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson condemned the “reconstruction” as Russian propaganda, emphasizing Putin’s responsibility for the city’s destruction. They stressed any company involved should question whose interests they serve. Investigations are ongoing to determine if sanctions have been violated.

Knauf plans to transfer its entire business in Russia, including raw material extraction, production, and sales, to local management. The company says this move is intended to preserve the jobs of over 4,000 employees. The Russian government still needs to approve the transfer.

Knauf’s departure from Russia marks the end of an era for the German company. The company has been a major player in the Russian construction market for decades.

The company’s decision to leave Russia is a sign of the growing economic and political isolation of the country. As more and more companies withdraw from Russia, the country’s economy is likely to suffer further.

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