Koch Industries defends decision to continue business in Russia

The president and COO of Koch Industries defended the company's decision to continue operations in Russia despite a mass-exodus of major companies from the country amid its invasion in Ukraine.

In a company wide memo, President and COO Dave Robertson told employees he wanted to "share the details that much of the media have left out but are important for you to know."

Robertson laid out three reasons why the company decided to remain in Russia: First, he said that Russian officials are threatening jail time for employees of companies that leave Russia; he claimed that it was impossible to completely shut down the factories; and finally, he stated that glass made at Koch facilities in Russia does not go to the Russian military, but residential buildings.

Last week, Koch Industries announced that their company, Guardian Industries, would continue operating two glass factories that employ 600 people in Russia. Koch Industries also employs 15 people in Russia outside of the Guardian.

In the memo, Robertson added that "abandoning the Guardian plants in Russia would put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good."

"This is an extremely volatile and uncertain situation in which we will continue to make decisions that we believe will avoid causing harm to our employees or Ukraine," Robertson said.

"To be clear, Koch condemns the heinous actions of the Russian government in Ukraine, and shortly after learning of the invasion, Guardian suspended all new capital investments in Russia," he added.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, major U.S. companies have moved swiftly to shut down operations in the country. McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Disney and others have suspended operations in Russia in response to its ongoing war with Ukraine.