McDonald’s said on Thursday it plans on reopening its restaurants in Ukraine over the next few months in an early sign of western businesses returning to the country, even as the conflict with Russia continues.
The world’s biggest burger chain closed all its restaurants in Ukraine and Russia in March, following Moscow’s invasion of the eastern European country.
McDonald’s had 109 restaurants in Ukraine, but did not specify how many it planned to reopen. It sold most of its 850 restaurants in Russia to one of its local licensees in May.
The decision to reopen came after “extensive consultation and discussion with Ukrainian officials, suppliers, and security specialists, and in consideration of our employees’ request to return to work,” Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s head of international operated markets, said in a message to employees.
McDonald’s said it was working with suppliers to get products to restaurants and bring employees back on site with enhanced safety protocols.
The burger chain will begin restaurant reopenings in Kyiv and western Ukraine, areas which have been more shielded from the conflict.
Earlier this year, Ukraine’s government started a program to relocate businesses westwards from war-ravaged areas looking to prevent further damage to its economy.
KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands Inc YUM.N said earlier this month nearly all of its stores in the country had reopened.