Nestlé, the world’s largest food manufacturer, has halted the manufacturing and distribution of its products in Ukraine.

The Swiss giant, which has three factories and 5,000 staff in Ukraine, said today (24 February), it had “temporarily closed our factories, warehouses and supply chain” in the country.

Earlier today, Russian forces launched an assault on locations across Ukraine to pursue what President Putin has called the “demilitarisation and denazification” of the country.

In a statement, Nestlé said: “We have recommended to our employees to stay at home and follow the latest official guidance from the government and local authorities.”

It added: “At this time, all our colleagues are safe and we remain in constant contact with them and are doing everything we can to prioritise their safety, adapting our plans in line with the changing environment. We remain committed to continuing to serve the local people and have contingency plans in place to ensure we can restart the supply of our products as soon as safe conditions allow.”

Nestlé sells a range of products in Ukraine, from confectionery and cooking products to infant formula and pet food.

The products manufactured at Nestlé’s three factories in Ukraine take in prepared dishes and cooking aids; confectionery; and beverages.

Elsewhere, Bonduelle, the France-based vegetables group, told Just Food it has halted operations at a factory in Russia near the border with Ukraine.

The company has ceased activity at its site in Belgorod, located some 25 miles from the Ukrainian border.

Bonduelle has three factories in Russia but no manufacturing presence in Ukraine.