April 5th: NUCC statement concerning the ongoing war in Ukraine
- Ukraine is in full control of the capital, the biggest cities and most of its territory, after entering the sixth week of warfare by the Russian Federation.
- Indications of Russian troops around Kyiv and in north-east Ukraine withdrawing.
- The Ukrainian State is functioning and operating to the best of its abilities, given the situation.
- Banking systems and financial systems are functioning, even if general infrastructure is damaged.
- The internet connection is in general stable, with some issues with the speed of the internet from time to time.
- The ongoing war has severely impacted the business climate, but an increasing number of companies, shops and factories are now operating to the best of their ability.
- NUCC is currently assisting Norwegian authorities in questions regarding Ukrainian refugees and work integration, and with conducting courses for Ukrainian refugees in Norway.
- The Chamber has put focus on delivering funding for direct humanitarian aid to trusted partners operating in Ukraine, through own fundraising initiative.
Entering the sixth week of uninterrupted attacks and hostilities by Russia, meeting fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops, Russian troops are withdrawing from Kyiv and north-eastern Ukraine. There are reports indicating an escalation of the already critical situation in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. There are ongoing intense battles, and considerable land is still under Russian occupation (see map below).
Map source: Institute for the Study of War, 04.04.22
The Russian troops withdrawing from northern Ukraine have left behind clear evidence of atrocities committed against the civilian population, as per recent examples towns of Bucha and Irpin just outside of Kyiv, now raising questions in western capitals of war crimes committed by Russia.
Against the backdrop of the unfolding humanitarian crisis, with hospitals, schools, infrastructure and governmental buildings being destroyed and the death of many civilians, The Ukrainian State continues their efforts to operate and maintain control. Most parts of Ukraine are still online, and even if partially clogged, mobile networks are still functioning. The banking system operates relatively normal, enabling people to receive money from abroad and send money within Ukraine. Sending money out of the country is still restricted. Some cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, are starting a slow return to more normal operations, with more shops and even restaurants opening. However, the most heavily hit parts of Ukraine, are still without water, electricity, and general infrastructure.
Despite the difficult circumstances, an increasing number of Ukrainian companies are open and fighting to stay in business. Several IT-companies have relocated to western Ukraine or abroad, and Ukrainian manufacturers together with producers of commodities that are not directly affected by the ongoing fighting, are still doing what they can to keep their incoming revenue to stay in business. The Chamber emphasize the importance of continuing business relations with these companies, as they in turn will help Ukraine in the general war context by adding value to the Ukrainian economy, – in this acute situation and for a post-war Ukraine.
The UN estimates that per 03.04.22 more than 4 million refugees have already crossed into Europe. Mostly women and children, due to the martial law that keeps men from crossing the borders. There are ongoing discussions by the Norwegian government to create a fast-track system to employ Ukrainians and integrate them as quick as possible. NUCC is communicating closely with the government on this topic and have given their recommendations on how to implement it. As a part of this strategy, The Chamber has developed a work portal that aims to give Ukrainians easy access to jobs offered in Norway. The Chamber has also established a two day course for Ukrainian refugees that may help Ukrainians enter the Norwegian job market with more ease.
The NUCC fundraiser initiative has so far received 1,6 million NOK, from private Norwegian companies, business associations and individuals. The funds received is distributed to partners on the ground that have concrete and practical humanitarian aid programs in cities like Kyiv, Sumy and Odessa, as well as to help internally displaced people inside Ukraine fleeing towards western Ukraine and beyond. Read more about the fundraising initiative here.
It is NUCC’s assessment that Russia’s deplorable attack and use of military force in Ukraine only cement Ukraine’s long-term commitment and necessity for Euro-Atlantic integration and internal reforms, while strengthening the support of its international partners. In order to promptly report and act upon any changes on the ground that affect business operations and personnel, NUCC will continue to monitor the security situation in cooperation with partners and members.