Airbnb CEO Announces Company Suspending All Operations in Russia, Belarus

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Airbnb is suspending its operations in Russia and Belarus, Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky announced on Thursday.

Chesky made the announcement on Twitter shortly after the company said it would offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine due to the invasion by Russian forces.

The home rental company’s CEO did not provide further details as to why it was suspending its operations in Russia and Belarus, which has been an ally of Moscow in its military invasion against Ukraine.

The Epoch Times has contacted an Airbnb spokesperson for comment.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration unveiled economic restrictions on Russia and Belarus in response to Putin’s “brutal” invasion of Ukraine.

“The United States will take actions to hold Belarus accountable for enabling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, weaken the Russian defense sector and its military power for years to come, target Russia’s most important sources of wealth, and ban Russian airlines from U.S. airspace,” The White House said.

Among the measures are restrictions extending export control policies to Belarus, and preventing the country from diverting items such as technology and software in the defense, aerospace, and maritime sectors to Russia.

The sweeping restrictions are designed to “choke off its import of technological goods in response to its support of Putin’s war of choice,” the White House said. They also target entities that are supporting, have supported, contributed, or been involved in the Russian and Belarusian military.

“These actions will ensure that the military as well as the aerospace, maritime, and high-technology sectors do not obtain U.S. technology goods and technology that can be used to support Russian technical maintenance and innovation,” officials said.

Airbnb CEO Chesky’s verified Twitter account currently displays an icon of the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag.

Chesky on Monday announced that Airbnb and Airbnb.org were working with its hosts to accommodate up to 100,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine, free of charge.

He encouraged homeowners to help the cause by offering temporary free stays or discounted stays to refugees, for which Airbnb’s host and guest fees are also being waived.

More than one million people have fled Ukraine to seek refuge in neighboring countries since Russia invaded last week, according to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

San Francisco-headquartered Airbnb’s latest announcement comes after it revealed on Feb. 22 that it will accommodate another 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan and other countries after meeting its previous goal of housing 20,000.

In a statement, the company said it was “proud” to have met its prior goal, which it said was achieved in part by working closely with the Biden administration as well as the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Church World Service (CWS), and the Jewish American nonprofit organization HIAS and other organizations.

To mark the “important milestone” Airbnb said it is continuing to support refugees and other displaced people around the world and hopes to provide another 20,000 refugees, including those from Central America, with free housing in the future.

It will also be investing more to understand and track the impact its program has on people’s lives, in line with its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion commitments.

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.





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