Ukrainian community of Industry 4.0 appeal to leading international companies

Members of Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine (APPAU), clusters “Engineering – Automation – Machinery” (EAM) together with other business associations of the Industry 4.0 community on the Industry4Ukraine platform appeal to international brands-suppliers of products and systems in industrial automation, IT, robotics and electrical engineering with a call to support their customers in Ukraine and completely stop operating on the Russian market.

The community members are concerned about Ukrainian and world media reports on the continuing operation in the Russian Federation of a number of world brands leading on the Ukrainian market of industrial automation and electrical engineering.

Russia waged war in Ukraine, enemy troops bomb our cities and commit bloody crimes against civilians. The war has been going on for more than a month, and the whole civilized world has sided with Ukraine. Reportedly, about 450 world brand companies have stopped business in Russia, demonstrating solidarity with their governments and peoples, as well as compliance with the norms of business morality and ethics.

But almost a hundred brands continue business in Russia, they pay taxes and hence support Russian economy, Russian military-industrial complex and indirectly Russian war in Ukraine. Among those brands are the Ukrainian market leaders in our field of activity – Siemens and Schneider Electric.

Our concern of such behavior is also strengthened by other facts regarding the Ukrainian market and our consumers, in particular:

  • Vendors have ceased operations on the Ukrainian market, which led to shortages of products for critical infrastructure and other economic sectors. In other words, we see “sanctions on the contrary” effect, since the Ukrainian market is being blocked, but not the Russian one.
  • Vendors give no public explanations neither about their activities on the Russian market, nor about returning to Ukraine and resuming supplies of their products. There are no statements or official comments on companies’ websites or elsewhere on such issues, which are expected by their clients (including most members of our association) to be answered.

We consider such behavior unacceptable and dealing a devastating blow to the reputation of some international vendors on the Ukrainian market.

We consider your headquarters’ wording “holding off investment/development” to be deeply offensive to Ukraine’s Industry 4.0 professional communities. Despite the Kremlin wars in Chechnya, Moldova, Georgia and the Kremlin’s support of the bloody Syrian dictator you have always invested an order of magnitude more in the Russian market than in Ukraine. For you the annexation of Crimea and the actual beginning of the war in Donbas have changed nothing. The Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2014 has not as well changed anything, although it really signaled the arrival of significant investments on the Ukrainian market from many global brands, including the automotive industry. Similarly, most of your Ukrainian subsidiaries have ignored local communities efforts to develop National Industry 4.0 in Ukraine. Your contribution to the numerous initiatives in this area is almost zero.

Therefore, it is better not to declare a “holding off investment/development” policy. It is better to recognize that short-term profits and financial indicators have always been more important to you than democratic values ​​and human life. 

Today you have an opportunity to change these positions. We call on international brands to show maximum solidarity with Ukraine, our people and their customers, who need your support now more than ever.

We demand an immediate reaction and public statements from the management of Ukrainian branches with explanations to their clients, professional communities and society about the continuing work of your brands in Russia and possible resumption of work in Ukraine.

We also call on Ukrainian subsidiaries of international brands to move away from the classic paradigms of profit-oriented business and show a much higher level of solidarity with their partners, professional communities and the people of Ukraine. Your capabilities in our country, all the capacity of the global corporations behind you are many times bigger than those of any local associations or European partners, who virtually don’t know Ukraine.

The list of areas where you can show such solidarity includes, but is not limited to these directions:

1. Support your key Ukrainian partners (distributors, system integrators, panel builders) who have suffered the most from the war. Some of their staff no longer have homes, warehouses and offices have been destroyed, and there are casualties. A fund to help families affected by the war can be a common focus for many market leaders in the above mentioned categories of businesses.

2. You can, like no other, help our community members and Government agencies to regularly monitor the needs of critical industries (food security, health care, medicine and clothing), and to support critical infrastructure at the level of your products and your professional services.

3. You are well aware that the Ukrainian market is now falling sharply. Consequently, your partners in Ukraine remain without orders. This situation is an opportunity to involve your network in the EU, your headquarters and jointly develop special offers for key partners in Ukraine. Engineering and production outsourcing, job offers in the EU, recruiting Ukrainian specialists to new developments – all together this will help retain the best experts and prevent bankruptcy of Ukrainian companies. But it would also demonstrate your brands’ true leadership and partnership in hard times.

The Ukrainian Industry 4.0 community expects a clear position on these issues from all the international brands leading on the Ukrainian market. We believe that the technology ecosystems you created around your brands will live on, your customers and partners will be able to continue enjoying your products.

Ukraine’s victory in this war is the victory of the entire civilized world over the evil humanity has not seen since World War II. It is impossible to help refugees in the EU with one hand and finance the criminal Kremlin regime with the other. And today there is no other way to win but to clearly determine whose side you are on.

Participants of the Industry4Ukraine platform and the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance:

• Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine.

• Central Ukrainian EAM cluster.

• Zaporizhzhia EAM cluster.

• Kharkiv EAM cluster.

• Vinnytsia cluster of automation and instrumentation.

• UMC maritime cluster of Ukraine.

• Ukrainian automotive and Mobility Cluster.

Here is the version on Ukrainian language.