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Published: Thursday April 10, 2014 MYT 11:20:02 PM
Updated: Thursday April 10, 2014 MYT 11:21:07 PM

Germany's Metro temporarily shuts Crimea stores

MOSCOW (Reuters) - German retailer Metro said on Thursday it had temporarily shut its two cash-and-carry stores in Crimea, now annexed by Russia.

"The two Crimean stores have been closed for internal reasons. We plan to re-open the stores in the next week," said Olesya Olenytska, a spokeswoman for Metro Cash & Carry Ukraine.

The company declined to elaborate on the reasons behind the move but analysts said it most likely closed the stores in order to bring its operations in Crimea into conformity with Russian regulations.

Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, which Kiev, the United States and European Union do not acknowledge, has triggered the worst stand-off with the West since the Cold War and has worried companies with assets in the region as it is unclear how the crises may affect their business.

U.S. fast-food chain McDonald's Corp said last week that it had closed its three restaurants in Crimea while "evaluating potential business and regulatory implications" of the situation.

Metro's Ukrainian unit has two stores in Crimea - one in Sevastopol and one in Simferopol - out of a total of 33 in Ukraine. The unit sources more than 90 percent of goods from Ukrainian producers, importers and distributors.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Additional reporting by Matthias Inverardi Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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