U.S. ice cream company Baskin Robbins plans to open a cafe in Crimea — ground zero in an international conflict between Russia and the West — this year, the head of the company's Russia division, Angessa Osipova, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
"We are currently looking for serious [Russian] entrepreneurs to open cafes in the region. We also plan to establish distribution channels in Crimea, and have not ruled out opening this year," the news agency quoted Osipova as saying.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, sparking off the biggest conflagration between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
Osipova said Baskin Robbins has franchises in Kiev and Odessa, and had been negotiating with its Ukrainian partners to open a cafe on the Crimean peninsula.
Baskin Robbins, a classic U.S. brand, was founded by Irv Robbins and Burt Baskin in 1945. It opened its first location in Russia in 1988, and opened a factory in Moscow in 1996. Overall, Baskin Robbins has outlets in 127 Russian cities, with 320 locations — 15 percent of which are under the direct control of the company.