Finnish fast food chain Hesburger plans to close all of its outlets in Russia during April, the company announced in a statement issued on Monday.
The Turku-based firm said it has sent notices to its local entrepreneur operators in Russia, stating that they must close immediately.
Following Russia's attack on Ukraine, the burger company announced plans in early March that it was withdrawing from the country.
However, as the month progressed, many people in Finland took to social media to criticise the fast food chain's timeline as too slow. Near the end of March the firm had managed to close just one of its outlets in Russia, but said it was planning to close all of them as quickly as possible.
On Monday, nearly two weeks later, the company explained the slow shutdown schedule was caused by concerns about staff safety as well as legal challenges it faced.
The company also operates seven outlets in Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv, but they are currently closed, according to Hesburger's CEO, Kari Salmela.
"According to our information, all of our Ukrainian employees are alive. Our restaurants have not been damaged due to combat. We will not open any restaurant until it is completely safe for all employees and customers. We are continuing to fully pay all local employees. Our thoughts are with the brave Ukrainians and we hope from the bottom of our hearts that peace will return to the country," Salmela said in the statement.