Nike, the heavyweight US sportswear brand, is now exiting Russia completely after initially suspending its operations there following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The company had at first merely halted its operations and temporarily closed down its owned and operated stores before then also terminating sponsorship deals with multiple Russian sports teams and organizations since then.

Now, the decision has been taken by the Nike hierarchy to fully shut down its operations in the country

In a statement yesterday, the company said: “Our priority is to ensure we are fully supporting our employees while we responsibly scale down our operations over the coming months.”

From this point on, all Nike stores and the Russian edition of Nike’s online and mobile sites will close permanently, and will not re-open again.

It has been reported that the brand was reluctant to do so during the first few months of the invasion, out of a desire to avoid exposing its Russian employees to personal hardship.

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Last month, Russian soccer heavyweight Spartak Moscow had its commercial relationship with Nike terminated with immediate effect.

Nike made that move because of the decision taken by the UEFA European soccer governing body to suspend all Russian clubs from UEFA pan-continental competitions in 2022-23.

Spartak Moscow and Nike first partnered up in 2005, with the kit supply deal being renewed on an annual basis for each of the last four seasons.

Rival sportswear firms such as Adidas and Puma have also suspended their operations in Russia and brought to an end sponsorship deals with teams in that country, although neither of those two has gone as far as Nike and shut down operations entirely.