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Coke and Pepsi Crimea Row: Ukrainians call for boycott

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Coca-Cola has angered Ukrainians and Russians with a social media post which was meant to spread holiday cheer. First Russians expressed their dissatisfaction when the beverage giant published a map of Russia which did not contain regions Moscow lays claims to: the Crimean Peninsula, Kaliningrad and the Kurile Islands. The company then apologised and posted a new map incuding the three areas. That prompted Ukrainians to call for a boycott of Coca-Cola; they were angered by the inclusion of Crimea, the Black Sea territory which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in March 2014 in a move which has not been internationally recognised. Both versions of the map have now been taken down.

Coca-cola's head office, which operates out of the US city of Atlanta, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that an agency working with its Russian affiliate had changed the map to include Crimea and the other areas without its knowledge or approval. It said, "we, as a company, do not take political positions unrelated to our business, and we apologize for the controversial post, which we have removed.”

Coke rival Pepsi has also come in for criticsim from Ukrainian social media users after they discovered a map on the drinks company's website which appeared to show Crimea as part of Russia. That webpage now appears to also have been taken down.

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