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Airbnb has halted its online rental marketplace services in Russia and Belarus in solidarity with war-torn Ukraine.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, American home rental company Airbnb Inc (NASDAQ: ABNB) became the latest platform to boycott Russia. In a recent tweet, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced that his company is “suspending all operations in Russia and (its ally country) Belarus”. However, Chesky did not provide any further details on the punitive decision.
Airbnb’s decision to discontinue operations in Russia also comes shortly after the company lent a helping hand to Ukraine. On Monday, the peer-to-peer lodging service said that it would help source short-term accommodation for as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The housing initiative will come through Airbnb’s independent nonprofit, Airbnb.org, which provides shelter for people in crisis. Airbnb released a formal statement which read:
“While Airbnb.org is committing to facilitate short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, it will work closely with governments to best support the specific needs in each country, including by providing longer-term stays.”
“We know that hosts and guests on Airbnb around the world will be eager to stand up and assist this massive effort to help those fleeing Ukraine,” added the leading online lodging marketplace.
Airbnb further explained that people interested in offering their homes to humanitarian causes do not need to be hosts. Furthermore, all the required funding for lodgings will come directly from Airbnb, donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, and Airbnb.org hosts.
Interestingly, a more recent development among Ukraine Airbnb services sees an increase in bookings to get funds for displaced residents. Members of the public have been paying for Airbnb rentals but not staying.
Airbnb Joins Others Taking Business Decisions against Russia and Belarus
Airbnb is one of several globally-renowned businesses to abandon Russia in the past week in solidarity with Ukraine. Some other leading companies that stated plans to limit or discontinue their activities in Russia include Disney (NYSE: DIS), Ikea, and H&M (STO: HM-B).
For instance, Disney, an American multinational media giant, decided not to showcase any of its upcoming movies in Russian theaters. The American studio did not specify how long it intended to pause its theatrical releases in Russia, instead stating:
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation.”
Meanwhile, major retailing platforms Ikea and H&M also put a halt to operations in Russia and Belarus. Ikea, the world’s largest furniture company, said its decision would directly affect 15,000 workers. However, the company wants to go forward regardless because the ongoing war has a “huge human impact”. For the time being, Ikea says that it will continue to pay its affected staff.
Clothing company H&M, announced late Wednesday that it also decided to temporarily shutter operations in Russia. The company already donates clothes and other accessories as part of humanitarian efforts.
“H&M Group cares for all colleagues and joins all those around the world who are calling for peace,” teh recent statement reads.