NEW YORK—Russia's global PR firm is aiming to distance itself from the country's controversial intervention in the Ukraine crisis.
Ketchum, which has handled the lucrative global account since 2006, today said that its work does not include foreign or domestic policy, instead focusing primarily on economic development and inward investment in Russia.
"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," said an agency spokesperson in a statement.
"We are not advising the Russian Federation on foreign policy, including the current situation in Ukraine."
Ketchum's work for Russia has attracted considerable media interest over the years. The agency's role in placing Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed last year drew particular scrutiny, with some accusing the agency of being 'anti-American.'
According to Justice Department filings, Ketchum earned $1.5m for its work on behalf of Russia during the most recent six-month reporting period. It has earned more than $25m since 2006, retaining the business following a review in 2012.
As part of the assignment, Ketchum runs the Modern Russia website, which aims to showcase the country's appeal as an investment destination. That positioning will prove difficult to maintain if sanctions are imposed on Russia. It is understood, though, that Ketchum is not involved in efforts to oppose sanctions.
Meanwhile, Pleon Talan — Ketchum's affiliate agency in Ukraine — is understood to have distanced itself from Ketchum's Russia work.
Separately, yesterday saw the launch of the Ukranian Crisis Media Center, which aims to provide 'objective information' about the situation and combat pro-Russian reports.