“I want to share with each of you a number of decisions we have made with regard to WarnerMedia’s business operations in Russia,” Kilar said in a memo to WarnerMedia staff obtained by Variety. “Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing all new business in Russia. This includes ceasing broadcast of our channels, halting all new content licensing with Russian entities and pausing our planned theatrical and games releases.”
Along with already suspending CNN broadcasts in Russia, WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. previously halted its plans to release “The Batman” in Russia ahead of its planned theatrical release.
Kilar added: “We are following this situation closely and future business decisions will be made with that context in mind. Our thoughts in this moment are with the people of Ukraine.”
Kilar’s announcement comes just hours after Discovery, Inc., which is set to soon close its acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T, suspended all operations in Russia amid the country’s war on Ukraine. Around 15 Discovery-owned channels that operate through Media Alliance — a joint venture with Russia’s National Media Group — will go off air starting Wednesday.
WarnerMedia and Discovery, which will become Warner Bros. Discovery upon the upcoming close of their pending merger, join a growing number of media companies that are turning their backs on Russian operations. WarnerMedia’s CNN, which also operates through the same joint venture as Discovery in Russia, stopped broadcasting from within Russia following a new media law passed last week that criminalizes the publication of “false information” about Russia’s military.