Companies Respond To Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

Since the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in late February, corporate actions to censure Russia have varied dramatically. Some of the measures taken have been required of companies by law, and some have been voluntary, and comments on the war made by corporations have ranged from harsh condemnations to more restrained promises to review their business in the country.

KPMG and PwC, two of the Big Four accounting firms, said they will no longer have a member firm in Russia, and Apple and Disney have offered rare condemnations of the country.

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The extremely popular Chinese-owned app TikTok said it will suspend live-streaming and the uploading of videos to its platform in Russia while it reviews what the implications could be of a new media law signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Boeing has cut sales and support for aircraft and Dell Technologies has stopped sales in Russia in an effort to follow U.S. sanction guidelines. Washington's export rules were changed to clamp down particularly on technology that could be used by the military.

U.S. firms Visa and Mastercard are suspending operations, and they will work with their clients and partners to cease all transactions there.

Two of the world's largest logistics companies, UPS and FedEx, halted delivery service to both Russia and Ukraine due to sanctions against Russia and out of a concern for safety in Ukraine.

Many companies, such as H&M, GM, and Harley-Davidson, are not exporting goods to Russia, which would be difficult anyway given decisions by shipping companies to drop Russian service.

Many major global brands are clearly and unequivocally blaming Russia for attacking Ukraine, which is rare in typically measured and diplomatic corporate language. Apple and Ford used very similar language to express deep concern regarding the Russian invasion. Occidental Petroleum Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub called the invasion "insane and inhumane" in comments made a day after the invasion.

In a shock to an industry that has worked very closely with Russia, fellow oil company BP has decided to sell out of Russia at a cost of as much as $25 billion. Shell and Exxon Mobil have also promised to sell Russian stakes and exit the country. Austrian oil company OMV will pull back from Russia, which will cause it to take an anticipated €1.5-1.8 billion hit.

Meanwhile, Japanese firms, including Mitsui & Co, Mitsubishi, Itochu, and Marubeni, which have stakes in liquefied natural gas export terminals in Russia, have come under increasing pressure over their ties to Russia and are scrambling to assess their operations.

Firms taking a stand against the Russian invasion will no doubt take a hit in revenue due to the lost business. However, they have likely weighed the cost of continuing to do business in Russia and have determined that it would be more costly to their bottom lines to do nothing and suffer a hit to their global reputation if they are thought by customers and clients to be tacitly supporting this wanton Russian aggression.