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ExxonMobil, Apple, Boeing latest US giants to cut ties with Moscow******
Apple iPhone 13 smartphones on display in the re:Store shop in Tverskaya Street in Moscow on September 24, 2021.
Apple, ExxonMobil and Boeing announced on Tuesday in rapid succession steps to withdraw or freeze business in Russia as more US corporate giants take action after the Ukraine crisis.
The moves – in diverse industries and following earlier announcements by Disney, Ford, Mastercard and others – highlight the rising economic toll on Russia after its military operation in Ukraine unleashed massive sanctions across Western governments.
ExxonMobil will begin a phased withdrawal from the giant Sakhalin offshore oilfield that it has operated since 1995.
The US company operates in Russia on behalf of a consortium including Russian, Indian and Japanese companies, its only major project in Russia, after it pulled out of two joint ventures during the previous round of sanctions against Russia following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
ExxonMobil's move follows earlier decisions by British energy group BP and Shell to pull out of joint projects in Russia. France's TotalEnergies said it would stay in Russia, but refrain from investing more money there.
ExxonMobil stressed that "the process to discontinue operations will need to be carefully managed and closely coordinated with the co-venturers in order to ensure it is executed safely."
Focus on security of staff
Earlier, Apple said it would halt all product sales in Russia and limit the use of Apple Pay and other services in the country.
Ukraine's defiant government, which has urged its people to battle Russian forces, has asked for help from all quarters, including Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Boeing for its part said it was suspending its support for Russian airlines and its operations in Moscow, saying it was "focused on ensuring the safety of our teammates in the region."
The action could weigh heavily on flag carrier Aeroflot, which flies the Boeing 737 and 777, and last week announced it was suspending flights to Europe in response to the flight ban.
The United States and European allies have put tough sanctions on Moscow in recent days, including by cutting selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, while Washington has announced measures specifically targeting the country's central bank.
Sinopharm, Sinovac vaccines prevent severe hospitalization from Omicron: report******
China's Sinopharm and Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines protect against "severe hospitalization" caused by the Omicron variant, the United Arab Emirates-based news outlet The National reported Tuesday, quoting a World Health Organization expert as saying.。
Abdi Mahamud, the WHO's incident manager for the pandemic, said that "more evidence is showing that Omicron is affecting the upper respiratory tract, causing milder symptoms than previous variants."
The UAE recently approved the emergency use of a new recombinant protein vaccine manufactured by Sinopharm, which will be used as a booster jab in the country, the report said.。
The new Chinese vaccine demonstrated an improved immune capacity against the new variant, "with a high safety rate that allows rapid production and easy storage and distribution," according to the UAE's health ministry.。