Published: 17:08, 09 May 2022
| Updated: 17:24, 09 May 2022
A waste collection firm contracted with several authorities in Kent has been criticised for continuing to operate in Russia during the ongoing war with Ukraine.
Veolia Environmental Services is part of a French-owned consortium which has had a branch in St Petersburg for the past 10 years.
But none of the four Kent councils which use the firm say they will be reviewing contracts for the company following protests elsewhere in the UK last week.
Maidstone borough councillor Paul Harper (Lab) said: "Veolia should cease its operations in Russia immediately, even if only temporarily during the war.
"I'm surprised that this isn't breaking the sanctions against Russia - if it isn't, it should be.
Cllr Harper added: "Those authorities in Kent who are using Veolia should review their position.
"These are public services. They need to to take on board on how their voters will view this use of public money."
Cllr Dave Naghi (Lib Dem) agreed: "I was at an event over the weekend where ordinary people were coming together to raise finds and send emergency relief to the people of Ukraine.
He added: "To learn that this company is still doing business in Russia is very disappointing. It's just not right.
"Those authorities still using Veolia should think again, they have a moral and ethical duty not to support businesses that are supporting Russia.
"I think Veolia will lose custom in the long run, if they don't stop trading with Russia now."
Last week, some of the company's own employees in Camden held a Ukrainian flag-waving protest outside the firm's depot in Alperton, West London, to protest that the firm had not severed its links.
A spokesman told Kent Online: "We utterly condemn war and violence in Ukraine.
He said: "We are providing absolutely no new funding for our operations in Russia and have stopped all new investment and all financial flows between the group and our Russian subsidiary.
"In full compliance with the current sanctions regime, we are maintaining our responsibility to our employees and the communities we serve by continuing our vital public service operations in both Ukraine and Russia.”
A spokesman for Folkestone and Hythe said: "We have discussed the firm's position on Russia and Ukraine with them.
He said: "We will not be reviewing the contract."
Dover council said similarly: "We have a contract with Veolia, and have discussed Veolia’s position on Russia and the Ukraine with the company.”
A Medway Council spokesman said: "We use Veolia for our waste disposal services. We currently have no plans to review the contract."
KCC is also known to use Veolia's services, but the authority declined to make any comment.