McDonald's will begin a phased reopening of some restaurants in Kyiv and Western Ukraine after temporarily pausing its operations when Russia invaded the country in February.
"We’ve spoken extensively to our employees who have expressed a strong desire to return to work and see our restaurants in Ukraine reopen, where it is safe and responsible to do so," Paul Pomroy, corporate senior vice president of international operated markets, said in a message to employees. "In recent months, the belief that this would support a small but important sense of normalcy has grown stronger."
McDonald's has 109 restaurants in Ukraine but didn't say Thursday how many would reopen, when that would happen or which locations would be the first to welcome back customers.
Over the next few months, McDonalds will work with suppliers to get product to restaurants, prepare the properties to service customers, bring its employees back on site and implement enhanced safety procedures and protocols.
After 30 years in Russia, McDonald's sold its 847 locations earlier this year to a local franchise owner — marking the first time that the company "de-arched" or exited a major market.
Alexander Govor, who held a license for 25 McDonald's outposts in Siberia, has begun reopening former McDonald's locations under the name Vkusno-i Tochka, or Tasty-period.
The restart of McDonald's Ukrainian operations comes as Ukraine's economy has been severely damaged by the war. The International Monetary Fund expects Ukraine's economy to shrink by 35% this year.
During the closure of its restaurants, McDonald's has continued to pay the full salaries of more than 10,000 employees in Ukraine. It also established an employee assistance fund to support its employees and has helped deploy medical supplies to hospitals and areas in need through Ronald McDonald House Charities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report