Australians are buying Ukrainian alcohol to support the beleaguered nation

The Sydney Opera House lights up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag in a show of support for the country. Photo: Sydney Opera House/Facebook.

By TILEAH DOBSON

As the conflict rages in Eastern Europe, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continuing, many Australians have been vocal in their support of Ukraine.

From the Sydney Opera House lighting up in the colours of Ukraine’s flag to the Australian government providing $70 million in lethal military assistance, Australian support for Ukraine has been strong.

That support is extending to the cash registers, with Australians seeking out Ukrainian goods at liquor stores and food markets, as a means of assisting the nation.

Fourth-year university student *Craig is one Australian who has chosen to buy Ukrainian products.

“I really wanted to show my support for Ukraine. I can’t go over and fight so I thought this was the best I could do,” he said.

“Yeah, the government has given money but what can us little people do? This was the best thing I could come up with, and my friends and family are also boycotting anything Russian.”

His comments come after several Australian companies – including Endeavor Drinks, the company in charge of liquor retailers Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Jimmy Brings – began pulling Russian and Russian-themed goods from shelves. The decision came after stakeholders voiced their desire for action against Russia.

After receiving feedback from its shareholders and the Australian Ukrainian community, Endeavour Drinks has pulled stock associated with Russia from shelves all over the country. Photo: Klimkin/Wikimedia Commons, published under Creative Commons 0 licence.

“As an organisation, Endeavour Group is deeply concerned with the situation in Ukraine and we join the calls for peace,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Workers have been told to inform customers: “Endeavour Group have decided on the side of peace and have made the decision in a meeting with shareholders to remove products until a better time.”

However, it appears some products have been unwittingly targeted, with Stolichnaya vodka one of the products removed from the Endeavour Group’s shelves.

While it is marketed as a Russian vodka, and was previously made in Russia, Stolichnaya vodka is actually made in Latvia by the Stoli Group, which is part of a business group controlled by Russian-born billionaire Yury Shefler.

Shelfer left Russia ten years ago after falling out with the Kremlin.

A statement posted to the Stoli Group website has denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “Stoli® Group has had a long history of fighting oppression from the Russian regime. We unequivocally condemn the military action in Ukraine and stand in support of the Ukrainian people.”

Australia’s Endeavour Group isn’t the only company participating in a crusade against Russian products, with multinational oil and gas company BP discontinuing its stake in Russian-owned Rosneft after three decades of cooperation. The move has been significant for the company, as around half of BP’s oil and gas reserves come from Rosneft.

“I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and my heart goes out to everyone affected. It has caused us to fundamentally rethink BP’s position with Rosneft,” BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney said in a statement.

Russia has also been stripped of its place in the 2022 Union of European Football Association’s Champions League finals. The event, which was due to be held in St Petersburg on 28 May, has also been moved to Paris, in a show of disapproval for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

* Craig is a pseudonym.

This story was updated after publication to include the Stoli Group’s denouncement of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Tileah Dobson is the news editor and sub-editor of the Sydney Sentinel.

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