McDonald’s Shuts Down in Crimea, Offers Workers Jobs in Ukraine

McDonald's announced on Friday that it's suspending operations at its three restaurants in Crimea due to "manufacturing reasons." In a laudable move, the company guaranteed its Crimean employees jobs at McDonald's locations in Ukraine and offered to pay relocation costs, including three months in rent.

"We understand and respect each employee's decision," the company said in a statement. "If they do not wish to move to another city in Ukraine we will, in accordance with Ukrainian law, offer options to end their employment with a redundancy payment."

Not that Rustam Temirgaliyev, Crimea's new Deputy Prime Minister, cares about the move.

"Russia has a lot of its own cafe chains, including fast food, and they can promptly take this niche," Temirgaliyev told Russia's Interfax news agency.

In slightly more serious news, Russia may ban a successful methadone program in Crimea. From the Associated Press:

Across the Black Sea peninsula, some 800 heroin addicts and other needle-drug users take part in methadone programs — seen as an important part of efforts to curb HIV infections by taking the patients away from hypodermic needles that can spread the AIDS-causing virus.

But Russia, which annexed Crimea in mid-March following a referendum held in the wake of Ukraine's political upheavals, bans methadone, claiming most supplies end up on the criminal market. The ban could undermine years of efforts to reduce the spread of AIDS in Crimea; some 12,000 of the region's 2 million people are HIV-positive, a 2012 UNICEF survey found.

"It is happening at such a pace that it's going to be a massacre here," one methadone user who voted to join Russia told the Associated Press. "They're abandoning 130 people and forcing them to fend for themselves, even if that means we'll end up stealing again and going to jail."

[Image via AP]