NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- McDonald's
(MCD - Get Report) is caught in the crossfire of growing hostilities between Russia, Ukraine and the West. The world's largest fast-food chain said Friday that Russian consumer regulatory body, Rospotrebnadzor, forced the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company to close as many as 12 restaurants in the country.
Shares were falling 0.5% to $93.66, extending its 2014 decline to 3.5%.
Of the 12 closed, three are located in Moscow, including its first and largest restaurant, and one in the fourth-largest city Yekaterinburg. Russia's regulator enforced closures over alleged safety and hygiene concerns. The regulator is also inspecting 100 more locations throughout Russia.
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"We are closely studying the content of the agency documents to determine what should be done to re-open the restaurants as soon as possible," McDonald's said in a statement. "We do not agree with the court's decision and will appeal against it in accordance with the procedures established by the law."Tensions have boiled after the U.S. and European Union enacted sanctions against Russian products and companies, a response to the country's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. In retaliation, Russia enforced its own imported food restrictions. --Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.