The Russian market remains the most profitable of its four operating segments, even if it accounts for only 7% of sales. Drawing a line under this asset would undoubtedly hurt consolidated profits.

Critics will say that Metro's reference shareholder - Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, long suspected of having troubled relations with the Kremlin - is to some extent protecting its presence in the country.

Perhaps, but beyond this adventurous speculation, the affair looks bad from every point of view. Metro has been publicly named by Ukraine as one of the "sponsors of the invasion".

This has not prevented management from presenting a highly ambitious roadmap: it aims to achieve at least EUR40 billion in sales and EUR2 billion in operating profit before depreciation and amortization - or EBITDA - by 2030.

These projections imply an average annual growth rate of at least 5%, and the ability to achieve an operating margin never before achieved by Metro. Clearly, achieving these targets will not be easy, especially if things go badly in Russia.

In fact, over the last five years, sales have only grown at an average annualized rate of 2.7%, while operating margins have tended to decline. Last year, the collapse of the rouble cost the Group almost EUR400 million, and plunged its consolidated accounts into the red.

On top of all this, corporate governance has historically been marked by a high degree of opacity. Recently, the appointment of Edgar Ersnst - the head of the Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel, the German authority in charge of the integrity of corporate accounts - to the Board of Directors caused some gnashing of teeth.