McDonald's on Thursday announced plans for a "phased" partial reopening of restaurants in Ukraine, where operations have been shuttered since February due to the Russian invasion.
The chain will "reopen some restaurants in Kyiv and western Ukraine, where other businesses have safely reopened," Paul Pomroy, senior vice president for international operated markets, said in a message to employees quoted by AFP.
Pomroy cited requests from the company's Ukrainian employees for the relaunch to signify "a small but important sense of normalcy" in the besieged country.
McDonald's suspended its operations in Ukraine on February 24 following the Russian siege of the country.
The company has continued to pay salaries of more than 10,000 employees since then, Pomroy said.
Thursday’s announcement was applauded by Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, who acknowledged that the actual reopening "will take a while," in a message on Facebook.
"But the main thing is that there is a political decision: Mac is back," Kuleba added, according to AFP. "The return of a great American company is first of all a signal for the international business of the opportunity to work in Ukraine, even in spite of war."
Things are different in Russia, where McDonald’s in March temporarily closed 850 stores in response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
In May, McDonald's announced it would sell its Russia business to Russian businessman Alexander Govor after announcing a complete exit from the country.
The move marked a reversal of the fast-food giant's historic arrival in Moscow in January 1990 in what was seen as symbolic of the end of the Cold War era.