War in Ukraine: Did Bonduelle deliver food to Russian troops? How the French group found itself in chaos

The French group Bonduelle, which maintains activity in Russia, was accused of supporting the invasion of Ukraine after posting on Russian social networks.

French multinational Bonduelle, which specializes in marketing vegetables, was accused of supporting the Russian conflict in Ukraine following information that appeared on December 30 on Russian social networks.

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posts from “Ярцево LIVE” on VKontakt (Facebook Russia), has since been deleted, featuring a photo of a basket filled with Bonduelle canned food with a description implying that the French group is actively supporting the Russian side.

According to this same post, 10,000 of these baskets were shipped, along with a flyer stating “We wish you all the best and a quick win!”.

Misleading information?

“Live” also mentions Ekaterina Eliseeva, member of the Executive Committee of the Group and Chief Executive Officer of Bonduelle Eurasian Market, wishing a “quick victory” for the Russian troops. The same Ekaterina Eliseeva went through the FSB academy, the secret service that replaced the Soviet KGB, to become a translator. However, it is not necessarily related to the FSB.

The information was immediately picked up in Ukraine by figures and media such as Obozrevatel. This was announced in France by independent journalist Stéphane Kenech, who pointed out the resemblance to the Russian uniform of the dress worn by a man in the photo of a basket of Bonduelle canned goods.

Is Bonduelle delivering parcels to Russian soldiers?

On social networks, pictures are circulating. “Dear warrior, happy new year! We wish you all the best and quick wins! written on a basket held by a person wearing a blue and white t-shirt. pic.twitter.com/7Ka0h1iNc1

— Stephane Kenech (@stephanekenech) December 31, 2022

A press release from the group, published on December 31, refutes “misleading information” as well as statements made to company members. Bonduelle points out, however, that the company still exists in Russia, “with the sole aim of ensuring the population’s access to essential foodstuffs”.

Bonduelle is still working in Russia

The company did maintain its activities domestically, as it had announced since the start of the conflict, pointing to seasonal activity the cessation of which “would have serious consequences in both the short and long term”.

The group also considers its “responsibility to ensure people’s access to essential foodstuffs and to do everything possible not to contribute to food shortages”.

Bonduelle, however, claims to be dedicating all profits made from its sales in Russia during the conflict period “to the future reconstruction of infrastructure and agricultural and food ecosystems damaged by the conflict in Ukraine”.

Operation “basket of virtue”.

According to him, this group donated food in collaboration with NGOs. Bonduelle has rightly indicated on her Russian Telegram account that she is taking part in the “Basket of Virtue” operation, an initiative of a Russian food bank that delivers baskets of food to the poorest.

However, as Stéphane Kenech points out, the head of the Russian district in Podolsk Dmitry Zharikov spoke on his Telegram account about the “Basket of Virtue” initiative. as an initiative to “raise gifts for service members and their families”.

Hence, there was a possibility that some of these baskets would fall into the hands of the families of soldiers who were currently on the front lines. And even more so since then, as remembers by sunday paper at the start of the conflict, ethnic minorities and the poorest were overrepresented among Russian soldiers, potentially placing them in the most marginalized categories.

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