Companies cut ties as atrocities mount in third week of Russia-Ukraine War
It can be difficult to find value in things like political sanctions and business dealings in regards to the Russia-Ukraine War, when that same conflict has torn a gash in the world's collective conscience as it enters its third week. Wednesday (Tuesday in Ukraine) saw perhaps the most terrifying atrocities yet, when Russian forces bombarded a children's hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol, on the Black Sea coast.
An Emerson facility in Russia.—Emerson photo
With a multi-flank Russian advance continuing on major Ukrainian cities despite enormous casualties, major companies from the United States and Europe alike face the daunting prospect of withdrawing business from Russia while attempting to prevent the situation from spilling over into a wider war.
In the first of those moves, the United States officially banned Russian oil and gas imports to U.S. on Tuesday, opening up a wider energy conversation that we will be covering as much as possible in upcoming issues and this newsletter. The idea here, geopolitically, is to take aim at Putin’s main revenue source in an effort to hurt both the pockets and morale of the Russian systems.
That decision has paralleled—or triggered, depending on the company—mass withdrawals of support, shutdowns of operations and franchise branches, and statements condemning Russia and/or voicing support for Ukraine. Here's a list of who's in, who's out thus far—with updates coming in regularly and a focus on companies most relevant to our readers.
LATEST (3/9): John Deere, Caterpillar: Bloomberg reported Wednesday that John Deere halted its farm equipment shipments to both Russia and Belarus two weeks ago when the invasion began. Belarus is considered by many to be a puppet state of Russia and served as the northern preparation point for Russia's thrust towards Kyiv. The Bloomberg report also said that Caterpillar had suspended operations at all of its Russian factories.
Atlas Copco halted all deliveries to Russia, according to multiple reports. The Swedish pump and compressor manufacturer has a segment based in Moscow, so the logistics of this move remain unclear.
ABB paused all intake orders to Russia and Belarus, the company said in a statement March 2.
Siemens pledged to stop all new business with Russia, according to a March 2 Reuters report. The industrial-tech giant is headquartered in Munich, Germany, giving it a delicate position both geographically and politically, as Germany is in a very pressured position of moderation.
Emerson, the industrial motor and generator giant located in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, illustrates one of the more difficult positions a business can find itself in during the current conflict. Emerson had recently cemented business deals with Russia and has over 100 employees in the country. It went as far as to say it "halted operations" in Russia in the first days of the war, but has not updated its position since.
General Electric said March 2nd it has temporarily paused support for its airline businesses in Russia, without specifying further (this has been a common stance and wording of company statements). GE has extensive aerospace and defense contracts with the Russian aviation industry.
A comprehensive list as of 2/28 (including auto companies) was reported by Reuters on February 28.
For ongoing updates, this twitter thread lists the bodyblows to the Russian economy, one by one. Electrical Apparatus learned about the thread via a tweet from Peter Thal Larsen @peter_tl, who used the information to inform his "Russia’s reverse globalisation will test Putin" piece for Reuters on March 7.
Meanwhile, the developing nature of the situation means plenty of companies haven't released statements or made formal changes yet. As of today, tiremakers Pirelli and Bridgestone Tire, industrial power generation company Baker Hughes, and energy giant Halliburton are just some of the many companies yet to announce changes to their Russian operations.
In other war news, United States Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday and spoke there, pledging solidarity with NATO and confirming a delivery of certain munitions to Poland. Harris did not speak on the conundrum involving US-lent airplanes to Poland to be used in Ukraine against Russia.