Major US and European companies operating on the ground in Ukraine said on Friday they had contingency plans ready in the event of a Russian invasion but had not yet ordered the transfer of staff.
Even as Western leaders raised their warnings that Russian President Vladimir Putin might order an attack on Ukraine, executives at the multinationals mostly said they did not believe Russian forces would actually pursue a ground invasion. Anna Derevianko, Deputy Director European Business Association.
Ms Derevianko, whose association includes Nestle, BASF, ArcelorMittal, Bayer and more than 1,000 European companies that employ more than two million people in Ukraine, said.
“If you ask business people, they think a physical invasion is a low-risk scenario,” she added. “There is no sense of panic.”
The The possibility of cyber attacksOn the other hand, it is more disturbing. Government websites, state-owned banks and parts of the state’s infrastructure have battled online invasions by hackers that Ukrainians believe are Russians, looking to disable computers and steal data. Ms. Derevianko said that European and American companies in Ukraine consider digital attacks as one of the main threats they must deal with and have moved to strengthen their cyber security.
The Ukraine Information Technology Association, Which includes domestic and international tech companies, such as Sigma Software and video game giant Ubisoft, said the industry’s presence in the country has grown steadily since Russia’s devastating invasion of Crimea in 2014.
The association said in a statement that companies in the technology industry, which is now worth $6.8 billion, have plans to ensure the safety and security of their employees in the event of an “emergency” as part of their business strategy.
“The Ukrainian armed forces have accumulated strength, gained combat experience and are ready to defend the country and its population,” the statement added. In contrast, she said, technology companies’ response plans “It aims to protect talent and the continuity of their business operations.”
The association added that more than 90 percent of technology companies surveyed this month rated the risks of conflict escalation as low to medium, noting that none of them were prepared for a full transition.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine It said its 633 members, including 3M, Toyota and Citibank, have continued to do business but have contingency plans to continue operating in the event of an emergency.
Andy Honder, president of the Business Confederation, said most of the member firms had drawn up their plans a long time ago but they continue to update and review them.
Ms Derevianko of the European Business Association said Ukraine was counting on continued foreign investment to help maintain the stability of the economy. Multinational corporations are located across the country in agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, technology and logistics.
Ukraine’s economy had only begun to recover in recent years from a devastating blow after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels seized swathes of Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Since then, Western allies have provided Ukraine and companies operating there with more than $48 billion in bilateral and multilateral economic support.
“For now, the companies say they plan to continue business as usual,” Ms Derevianko said. But the situation could get more complicated, especially if major seaports and airports are closed, thwarting exports and dealing another blow to the economy.