Liquor stores across the U.S. and Canada have protested Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by throwing out hundreds of bottles of Russian Vodka, the New York Post reported.
In the U.S., several liquor stores and bars have parted with Russian Vodka in their response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
The Jacob Liquor Exchange in Wichita, Kansas, decided to remove more than 100 bottles from the shelves and reportedly poured some on the ground.
“I think the whole world knows by now that Russia’s at war with Ukraine for no apparent reason,” Jamie Stratton, wine director and partner of the store, told KSNW-TV in Wichita. “I guess this is our sanction … and this may be small, but every small thing makes a difference.”
An Oregon bar owner filmed himself pouring out all of the Russian Vodka he had in stock, Fox 12 Portland reported.
“Russia is acting as though it’s 1939 and going into Europe with a full force that they have in the Ukraine,” Bill McCormick, owner of Pine Tavern, told the station. “I am so concerned about it metastasizing into other countries.”
He said protesting in solidarity with Ukraine was worth losing a few hundred dollars in Vodka bottles.
According to the Canadian Press, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy advised the provincial Liquor Control Board in Ontario, Canada, to discard all Russian Vodka and 24 other alcoholic products imported from Russia.
“Ontario joins Canada’s allies in condemning the Russian government’s act of aggression against the Ukrainian people, and we strongly support the federal government’s efforts to sanction the Russian government,” Bethlenfalvy said. “We will continue to be there for the Ukrainian people during this extremely difficult time.”
“Ontario and the LCBO can’t say it’s truly standing with Ukraine while continuing to be Putin’s customer,” said Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
The Crown liquor stores in Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Newfoundland have taken similar action across the region.
On Friday, a spokeswoman said the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp had also decided to withdraw their support of the Russian brand “given the terrible events taking place” in Ukraine.
Beverly Ware confirmed that the stores sold three products from the Russian Standard line, per the Press.
“The products are being removed today, and we have also removed them from our website. We’re also notifying operators of agency stores so they can also remove this product from their shelves,” she said in an email.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a speech that he was going “to conduct a special military operation … to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.”
Though his claims about Ukraine’s Russian-separatist Donbas region could not be verified, he initially said he would not invade Ukraine’s territories.
“We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force,” CNN reported.
However, he outlined the consequences if the military mission was be interrupted: “Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so, to create threats for our country, for our people should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history.”
Minutes later, Russian forces launched several missile attacks against locations near the Kyiv region and long-range artillery against the northeastern city of Kharkiv, which is close to the Russian border.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a minute-long speech in response to Putin that he had spoken to U.S. President Joe Biden and the U.S. has offered international support to Ukraine.
“The West is with us,” he said after initiating martial law across the country.