Ukraine conflict: Disney, Warner, Sony halt release of films in Russia

Ukraine conflict: Disney, Warner, Sony halt release of films in Russia

Image source, DisneyImage caption, Pixar’s new animated film Turning RedWarner Bros, Disney and Sony have halted the release of films in Russian cinemas, after the invasion of Ukraine.The announcements mean the releases of major movies The Batman, Turning Red and Morbius will now not go ahead as scheduled in the country.They come as governments around…

Image source, Disney

Image caption,

Pixar’s new animated film Turning Red

Warner Bros, Disney and Sony have halted the release of films in Russian cinemas, after the invasion of Ukraine.

The announcements mean the releases of major movies The Batman, Turning Red and Morbius will now not go ahead as scheduled in the country.

They come as governments around the world have been ramping up their sanctions against Moscow.

In recent days global corporations, including car makers and energy giants, have cut business ties with Russia.

Warner Bros blockbuster The Batman was due to be released in Russia on Friday.

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Disney has delayed the Russian release of the Pixar animated film, Turning Red.

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia,” Disney said in a statement.

The entertainment giant added that it would work with non-governmental organisations to provide “urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees”.

Sony has also halted the release of its Marvel adaptation Morbius in the country.

“Given the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region, we will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

Russia attacks Ukraine: More coverage

Meanwhile, Netflix has said that it will not comply with new Russian rules to carry state-backed channels.

“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

Tech platforms Twitter and Facebook have also moved to limit the presence of Russian state-backed news outlet information on their platforms as these have been accused of spreading misinformation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Meta, which owns Facebook, said it would restrict access in the European Union to state-owned media outlets RT and Sputnik.

Twitter also said it would add warnings to tweets that share links to Russian state-affiliated media.

Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, said the platform has seen more than 45,000 tweets per day that were sharing links to these media outlets.

Google said it would block YouTube channels connected to Russian broadcasters RT and Sputnick across Europe.

Russia ‘un-investable’

The moves come as many companies try to distance themselves from Russia. Among the actions taken are:

  • Oil giants Shell and BP have said they will sell their Russian interests
  • French oil firm TotalEnergies will not finance new Russian projects
  • Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their networks
  • Payments cards issues by sanctioned Russian banks do not work on Google Pay or Apple Pay
  • Canada is banning imports of Russian crude oil
  • Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is pausing deliveries to Russia due to “trading challenges”
  • Transport giants Maersk and MSC temporarily suspend container shipping to and from Russia, except food, medical and humanitarian goods
  • Shipping giant MSC
  • Harley-Davidson has suspended its Russian business and all shipments to the country

Big investors have also started to either ditch Russian investments or put new investments on hold.

The UK’s biggest private pension fund, the British Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), said on Tuesday that it was “looking to sell” its Russian assets.

“We think there’s a clear financial as well as a moral case for divestment with respect to our Russian holdings,” USS chief executive Simon Pilcher told the BBC’s Today programme.

“There’s very little appetite for anyone to trade with Russia under these circumstances, and therefore, in that context, it’s very hard to see how Russian investments are a sound financial investment.”

Mr Pilcher also said the moral case “was fairly compelling that one should have nothing to do with Russia in the current environment”.

Lucy Coutts, investment director at JM Finn, said: “Russia is un-investable at the present time. The Russian economy has been absolutely slammed by a broadside of crushing Western sanctions.

“Its economy is seizing up, the rouble is worth less than one US cent, inflation is soaring, mortgage rates have gone from 7.5% to 18.6% overnight, and the Russian people are being forced to pay.”

Credit rating agencies have said the likelihood of defaults on Russian debt has gone up, so bond markets have seized up, she added.

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The cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv faced heavy shelling on the fifth day of Russia’s invasion

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