The tire manufacturer has no choice but to protect its employees.
Continental AG, a German car part manufacturer and supplier most famous for its tires has begun operations in Russia again. The tiremaker says that tire production for passenger cars has started back up temporarily at its plant in Kaluga to protect local workers.
According to Reuters, Continental started production to serve local demand in Russia. The operations were shut down earlier this year due to global sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine. Plant operations were suspended on March 8, following the Russian invasion, which started on February 24.
"In order to protect our employees in Russia from prosecution, we are temporarily resuming the production of passenger tires for the local market at our tire plant in Kaluga if necessary," said Continental.
"Our employees and managers in Russia face severe criminal consequences should we refrain from serving local demand," said Continental. It also stated that its products were being made for civilian use. The German manufacturer is likely making this distinction to keep people from thinking that its products might end up on military vehicles. It pointed out that this decision is not profit-driven in any way.
Continental did not state what charges its staff may face, but we can only imagine what could happen if you refused a direct order from someone high up in the Russian government.
According to Reuters, Russian prosecutors have warned western companies that their staff could be prosecuted if they stopped manufacturing essential goods.
Continental is not the only tire manufacturer impacted by sanctions. Nokian Tyres, a Finnish manufacturer, revealed that the EU's sanctions would make it hard to sell tires in Russia. Nokian does have manufacturing plants in Russia but around half of the materials it needs comes from outside Russia's borders.
Pirelli, the famous Italian tire manufacturer, also has two manufacturing plants in Russia. Luckily, these plants are only responsible for 10 percent of Pirelli's output.
President Vladimir Putin was not amused and said that the government would seize the assets of any companies that stopped producing.