Pleon Talan, the Ketchum PR unit based in the Ukraine, is distancing itself from Ketchum's ongoing PR work with the Russian government amid the cross-border showdown between the two countries.
In a statement posted to the firm's Facebook page, Pleon Talan director Irina Zolotarevych appears to dismiss an online Ukraine media report linking it to Ketchum's Russia work and "anti-Ukrainian propaganda," stating the firm does not work and has never worked for the Russian government.
Ketchum, which merged with the overseas Pleon agency in 2009, has worked for nearly a decade with the Russian Federation, a lucrative global account for the Omnicom-owned firm. Its work was scrutinized last year when it placed a New York Times op-ed for Russian President Vladimir Putin warning against a U.S. strike on Syria.
Translated to English via Google and Bing, Zolotarevych's statement says Pleon Talan, based in Kiev, was never involved in anti-Ukrainian actions in the country or abroad, did not handle any project that supports "Russian aggression against Ukraine or vice versa" and is "totally against any informational campaigns that spread confusion."
Zolotarevych said the firm adheres to the ethics code of the Ukrainian Association of PR Firms and is a co-founder of that group. She also said the firm does not issue policy statements, but noted its employees, as citizens are not "indifferent to the fate of their country."
She pointed to the main office of Ketchum for further comment.
Ketchum said in a statement: "Our work continues to focus on supporting economic development and investment in the country and facilitating the relationship between representatives of the Russian Federation and the Western media." The firm said it is "not advising the Russian Federation on foreign policy, including the current situation in Ukraine."
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Moscow-based RIM Porter Novelli helped the Ukrainian opposition platform, Civic Platform Maydan, with PR in January as it rallied against then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who has since fled the country.
Bloomberg reported at the time that the PR firm helped journalists get to Independence Square in Kiev to cover demonstrations against the Russian-backed government.