UPDATE 3-Russia shuts four McDonald's restaurants amid Ukraine tensions

Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:35pm EDT
 
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* Russia says McDonald's branches breached sanitary rules

* Closure comes amid Russia-West tensions over Ukraine

* Shuttered branches include first in Soviet Union

* McDonald's shares down 0.3 percent (Adds analyst comment, paragraphs 22-23)

By Polina Devitt and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Russia ordered the temporary closure of four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow on Wednesday, a decision it said was over sanitary violations but which comes against a backdrop of worsening U.S.-Russian ties over Ukraine.

The four restaurants ordered to suspend operations by the state food safety watchdog included the first ever McDonald's in Russia, which opened in the last days of the Soviet Union, and which the company says is its most frequented in the world.

On Wednesday evening, the lights were off inside the restaurant - usually crammed with diners - and a sign on the door said it was shut "for technical reasons".

McDonald's Corp shares were down 0.3 percent at 1911 GMT (3:11 p.m. EDT), against the backdrop of a slightly firmer U.S. stock market.   Continued...