May 30, 2023

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War in Ukraine: Did Pontwell Feed Russian Forces? How the French team is in turmoil

After posts on Russian social networks, the French group Bonduelle, which maintains its activities in Russia, was accused of supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

Bonduelle, a French multinational specializing in the marketing of vegetables, is accused of supporting it. Russian conflict in Ukraine The following information appeared on Russian social networks on December 30.

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a level”Yartsevo LIVE” Sur Vkontakte (Russian Facebook), since deleted, presents a photo of a basket filled with Bonduelle defenses, with a caption indicating that the French group will actively support the Russian camp.

According to the same post, 10,000 of these baskets were given away and “we wish you the best and speedy success!”.


“Yardchevo Live” Also mentioned is Ekaterina Eliseeva, member of the executive committee of the group and CEO of Bonduelle. Eurasia markets, who wants a “quick victory” for the Russian forces. The same Ekaterina Elisheeva Accomplished by FSB Academy, the secret service that succeeded the Soviet KGB, turned translator. However, it is not yet affiliated with the FSB.

The information was immediately picked up by figures and media in Ukraine such as Obozrevatel. It was broadcast in France by independent journalist Stéphane Kenech, who pointed out the similarity of the clothing worn by a man in a photograph of a basket filled with Bonduelle canned goods to a Russian uniform.

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The photos are going viral on social media. “Dear Soldier, Happy New Year! We wish you the best and speedy success! It is written on a basket held by a man in a blue and white shirt.

— Stephen Kenech (@stephanekenech) December 31, 2022

The group’s press release, issued on December 31, denied the “false information” and statements made to members of the company. Bonduelle notes, however, that the company still exists in Russia “with the sole purpose of ensuring the population’s access to essential foodstuffs.”

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Bonduelle still works in Russia

As announced by the company, it actually maintains its operations in the country From the start of the conflictPointing to seasonal activities that “have serious consequences in the short and long term”.

The group also considers it its responsibility to “ensure people have access to essential food and to do everything possible not to contribute to food insecurity”.

However, Pontwell said it would dedicate all profits from its sales in Russia during the conflict to “the future reconstruction of conflict-damaged infrastructure and agricultural and food ecosystems in Ukraine.”

A “philanthropy baskets” activity

According to him, the group collaborates with NGOs to make food donations. Bonduelle rightly pointed it out Russian Telegram account He participated in the operation “Baskets of Benevolence”, an initiative of the Russian Food Bank, which provides food baskets to the most destitute.

However, as Stéphane Kenech points out, Dmitry Zharikov, head of the Russian district of Podolsk, talks about the “Baskets of Philanthropy” initiative on his Telegram account. In an effort to “collect gifts for service members and their families.”

So some of these baskets ended up in the hands of the soldiers’ families at the front now. And above all, as Sunday paper At the beginning of the conflict, ethnic minorities and the poor were over-represented among Russian soldiers, who could be placed in this most disadvantaged category.