What is the current state of the business community in Ukraine?
We see the unbroken spirit of our companies, who boldly look in the face of danger, and despite all the difficulties their companies face, they continue to support Ukraine and Ukrainians.
According to the results of our latest AmCham Survey “Doing Business during War in Ukraine”- 88% of companies continue operating in Ukraine; 45% work partially; 18% relocated within Ukraine; 16% of members are fully operational; 6% closed their offices in some regions; 12% of businesses had to stop operations, 6% of which had to shut down totally; 95% of AmCham Ukraine member companies continue to pay salaries during the war.
The companies have really come together and they understand that it’s really down to businesses now to help the humanitarian drive – getting food, getting medicines, getting all kinds of help to those most in need. 92% of respondents indicate that their organizations provide support to the humanitarian drive. The most common ways of support are financial support (42%), providing in-kind goods (24%), and volunteering drive within the companies’ employees (14%). 65% of AmCham Ukraine member companies also support Ukraine’s territorial defense units and defense forces.
Safety and security of employees (79%), logistics and transport (49%), export-import operations (21%) were identified by business representatives as the top three major challenges. Among others are relocation, access to financing, and access to raw materials.
Is AmCham Ukraine able to continue its operations in any way in this situation?
During these challenging times for Ukraine, our duty is to support AmCham member companies. From the very first day of the war, AmCham Ukraine team continued to handle all requests and issues of our member companies. What we are focusing on now at AmCham Ukraine is listening to our members and supporting them. We continue to provide informational support, organizing meetings to resolve issues regarding relocation, critical import, humanitarian drive, and many others. We are constantly in touch with our members, Ukrainian government, and the U.S. Embassy. Our number one priority as an employer is the safety and security of our team. We are also in contact with all our team members, making sure they are safe and financially supported.
How do you perceive the reaction of the international business community to Russia’s aggression?
According to our latest survey, 86% of respondents support the call by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister for a global boycott of international companies that have kept their operations open in Russia. AmCham Ukraine is proud of such solidarity of our companies. Our message is crystal clear – any American Chamber of Commerce and any international company should not be working with a pariah government that is killing innocent women and children.
As a business association with a great global network, we are using every single opportunity to attract the attention of the international business community to the war in Ukraine. We are extremely grateful for the bold decisions of AmCham companies’ headquarters to stop operations and investments in Russia.
What further steps can businesses take to take a clear stance and refuse to be associated with Putin’s regime?
Unfortunately, we still have a list of companies which still continue their operations in Russia. Profits appear to be more important to them than human lives. The international business community continues to increase pressure on them to stop business on blood. In my opinion, every responsible business should think of leaving Russia completely, as well as thinking of terminating operations in the Republic of Belarus.
We also asked companies how may the international business community and their HQs strengthen the pressure to stop the war. Businesses believe that termination of business operations and exerting pressure on Russia and Belarus, as well as calling and lobbying for wider and more comprehensive economic sanctions on these countries, will bring positive results. Moreover, the business community considers it necessary to use global networks to raise awareness and attract attention to the war in Ukraine, increasing pressure on governments in Europe and throughout the world to stop the war.
You’ve made the difficult decision to leave Kyiv in order to be able to help more. What is your current mission?
Currently, my entire schedule consists of calls and meetings with AmCham Ukraine members, AmChams in Europe and U.S. Chamber representatives, diplomats from different countries, charity funds that raise money for the military and humanitarian aid. Together with AmChams in Europe, we exchange information on possible ways to help refugees and the Ukrainian community that continues to operate on the ground in Ukraine.
My mission is to show the world what is truly happening in Ukraine now, to hook the strings in their hearts so that they understand that no one should stand aside.
Andy Hunder, President of AmCham Ukraine