Europe

Ukrainian president's candy maker to shut Russian factory

A chocolate maker owned by Ukraine's president says it's planning to shut its factory in Russia for "economic and political reasons."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last year put the Roshen confectionery company in a trust, arguing that it's difficult to sell the asset amid an economic downturn.

The company said Friday that it has decided to halt production at its factory in Lipetsk and lay off its 700 workers, noting that output has been falling because of Russian market restrictions and official pressure.

Relations between the two ex-Soviet neighbors have been at a freezing point after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Despite the tensions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last fall that Roshen was welcome to keep operating.