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Industry expresses solidarity with Ukraine

As the various government administrations weigh against the potential damage to their respective economies that could result from supporting Ukraine, while imposing sanctions or introducing embargo on Russian industry, in an attempt to destroy its economy, the industry at large has gone all out to support Ukraine.

Nokia, supplier to MTS, Vimplecom, Megafon, and Tele2 in Russia has suspended deliveries to the country and is donating cash and support to UNICEF. Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark states, “I am shocked and devastated by the terrible scenes we’re witnessing in Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues. Many of us thought that war in Europe was unimaginable in 2022. Sadly, that view has proven to be mistaken. The invasion of Ukraine is a clear violation of international law. Nokia strongly and unequivocally condemns this war and the deaths of innocent people. The safety of our employees in Ukraine remains our top priority. We are supporting them with logistical and financial assistance and a crisis team is in close contact with our people to offer any additional help we can provide.”

Ericsson too has suspended its deliveries and is deferring new customer projects in Russia, while the management conducts its analysis. According to an internal memo from CEO Borje Ekholm to his team, “We are now urgently reviewing how our business might be affected by the events and the sanctions imposed.”

Huawei has been accused of stabilising Russia’s internet network after it came under attack from hacker groups across the globe by Peter Dutton, Minister for Defence, Australia. Dutton has accused Russia and China of forming an ‘unholy alliance’ – and said Beijing could help bring an end to the war if it stopped refusing to condemn Russia and blasted Huawei’s apparent intervention. Huawei, which reportedly has five research centres in Russia, is said to have ‘rushed to Russia’s aid’ to support its internet network when its media sites were hacked by a group claiming to belong to the Anonymous hackers network and pages replaced with a ‘tombstone’ in honour of the war dead.

Many larger smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, and Apple have announced they will be leaving the Russian market. It is estimated that for Apple, this will amount to at least USD 3 million in iPhone sales revenue daily or USD 1.14 billion annually. HMD Global, as a licensee of the Nokia brand is doing the same. “We condemn Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Our thoughts go out to every person affected. HMD Global have paused exports to Russia and will ensure to comply with all sanctions and restrictions,” said an HMD Global release.

Accenture, on the other hand has decided it’s out – lock, stock and barrel. “Accenture stands with the people of Ukraine and the governments, companies and individuals around the world calling for the immediate end to the unlawful and horrific attack on the people of Ukraine and their freedom. Therefore, Accenture is discontinuing our business in Russia. We thank our nearly 2,300 colleagues in Russia for their dedication and service to Accenture over the years. We will be providing support to our Russian colleagues. While Accenture does not have a business in Ukraine, we will continue our efforts to help our Ukrainian colleagues working around the globe at Accenture and their extended families; we are providing telehealth for those in Ukraine, and helping resettle family members who leave Ukraine. We are donating USD 5 million to non-profit relief organizations working to help people in Ukraine and those who are being displaced into Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. We are also matching 100 percent of the donations from our people,” said a press release.

Google has paused all ads sales in Russia. Earlier, Google had indefinitely paused the monetisation of Russian state-funded media such as RT and Sputnik across its platforms. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is both a tragedy and a humanitarian disaster in the making,” Kent Walker, President, Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blogpost.

Intel and AMD both have suspended all chip shipments to customers in both Russia and Belarus.

While Microsoft Corp. is helping guard against cyberattacks, SpaceX is setting up internet services amid Russia’s continuing assault. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sent a truckload of Starlink antennas — which are being used to connect to the company’s satellite-based internet service — to Ukraine, responding to a plea from the country’s vice prime minister amid fears that Ukrainians could lose internet access as Russia continues its attacks on communication infrastructure. The company is sending another batch of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite systems next week, President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed recently after speaking with Elon Musk.

And the board of satellite operator, OneWeb voted to suspend all launches from Baikonur, the Russian cosmodrome located in Kazakhstan.

The CEO of international wholesale operator Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS), Matteo Gatta, is urging telcos in European Union countries to cut all charges for voice calls originating in the Ukraine that terminate on their networks, BICS says it will carry such traffic on its cross-border, inter-operator network for free and wants the telcos to follow suit. Gatta has written an open letter to the industry in an effort to attract support for the initiative. BICS notes that network operators can remove the “origin based roaming (OBR) surcharge, an additional charge on the routing of calls based on where that call originates. MTRs have been regulated within the EU, meaning that there is no extra charge for routing a call within the EU. However, as Ukraine is not within the EU, these calls are subject to additional charges. These charges are entirely within the control of mobile operators and are not dictated by BICS or any EU regulations.”

Netflix, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Nike, Dell, Zara and a string of other companies have severed connections with Russia. “More sanctions imposed, faster peace restored,” hopes Oleksandr (Alex) Bornyakov, deputy minister for Digital Transformation, Ukraine.

CT Bureau

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