Cummins halts some operations in Russia

Cummins Inc. has halted some of its operations in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and is dismissing media reports that it was contributing engines or parts to military-vehicle production in Russia.

The Columbus-based company said Tuesday it has stopped some operations in Russia — including shipments of engines with more than 400 horsepower — to customers in the country to ensure “those can’t be used improperly,” corporate spokesman Jon Mills told The Republic.

Jon Mills

In Russia, Cummins mainly sells engines in the agricultural sector, backup generators for hospitals, as well as engines for smaller vehicles and electric truck and bus engines, among other products, but does not conduct any business there in the military or defense sectors, the company said.

Cummins has more than 700 employees in Russia but none based in Ukraine.

“We have halted some of our operations, but we are continuing to conduct business with Russia that supports the health and safety of citizens on the ground where Cummins equipment powers parts of the agricultural sector, hospitals and many other elements of daily life and not for the defense or military,” Mills said. “Our intent is to limit the impact on citizens who are not participants in this invasion.”

The update from Cummins came as the United States and its allies continue to ratchet up sanctions against Russia in the days following the invasion of Ukraine, including a U.S. ban on Russian oil imports announced on Tuesday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also has thrown business plans into disarray, The Associated Press reported.

McDonald’s said Tuesday it would temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia. Starbucks soon followed suit, announcing that it would close 130 restaurants in the country. Pepsi said it would halt soda sales but would continue to manufacture milk, dairy products, baby formula and food.

Cummins has operated in one way or another in Russia since the mid-1970s when it started selling engines in imported mining dump trucks, according to the company.

In 2006, Cummins formed a joint venture with Kamaz to produce engines, according to the Cummins’ 2007 annual report. At the time, Cummins said it expected the joint ventures’ customers to include “trucks, buses and agricultural equipment produced by other manufacturers in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.”

Rostec, a Russian state-owned conglomerate, at one point held a 49.9% stake in Kamaz, according to the Russian company’s website.

Germany-based Daimler Truck said last week that it would suspend its joint partnership with Kamaz after the European Union imposed sanctions related to the ownership of the Russian company as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. So far, U.S. sanctions have not targeted Kamaz.

Cummins, for its part, said it is in compliance with all sanctions, export control requirements and company policies. Additionally, company officials adamantly denied media reports suggesting that “the Russian army is Cummins-powered,” saying those allegations were completely false.

“We also know there have been false and inaccurate reports in the media and on social media about our company and our operations in Russia,” Mills said. “We want to be clear that, for years now, Cummins has, and will continue to prohibit, our products from being used in Russian military and defense equipment from Cummins directly, from our customers, and from our joint venture.”

In a statement, Cummins said it is “deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine and the safety of Ukrainian citizens” and “we strongly condemn the actions of the Russian government, which is putting millions of innocent people at risk and turning hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens into refugees.”

“The current sanctions are clearly aimed at penalizing the Russian government and its military capabilities while avoiding hurting private Russian citizens who are not involved,” Mills said. “We are supportive of actions aimed at ending the invasion and de-escalating the situation.”

Cummins is working with its employees around the world and its grant making partner, Global Giving, which has launched a Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund to support humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled, Mills said.

“We are actively working with community organizations, especially in Romania and Poland, to determine how we can assist as the refugees arrive in new communities,” Mills said.