Nike to Permanently Leave Russia Following Ukraine Invasion

Nike announced it would temporarily suspend operations in Russia three months ago

Nike store
Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

Nike is officially leaving Russia.

On Thursday, the sports apparel maker announced its departure from the country following Russia's invasion into Ukraine.

"NIKE, Inc. has made the decision to leave the Russian marketplace," the company said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "Our priority is to ensure we are fully supporting our employees while we responsibly scale down our operations over the coming months."

Nike also posted on its official Russian website telling visitors its website and mobile app will "no longer be available in this region" and that its stores "will not reopen," CNN reports. Nike had about 100 stores in the country.

In March, the company said it would temporarily suspend operations at all its Nike-owned and -operated stores in Russia and those which remained open were operated by independent partners.

Nike business in both Russia and Ukraine make up less than one percent of its total revenue, Reuters reported.

The decision comes as new laws are expected to pass that would allow Moscow to seize the assets and impose criminal penalties against foreign companies planning to exit Russia, according to Reuters.

Other American companies including Cisco, McDonald's and Starbucks has also decided to shut down their operations within the country, according to BBC. Nike's competitors Adidas, Puma and Reebok also left Russia in March.

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades.

Details of the fighting change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. Millions of Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says.

The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.

With NATO forces massing in the region around Ukraine, various countries have also pledged aid or military support to the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back.

Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend.

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"Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting. "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness."

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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