Better if used by February 24, 2023. B4Ukraine Statement
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Nine months ago today Ukrainians woke to the horrifying sound of explosions from Russian missile attacks. Today, Ukrainians are still waking up to these same sounds – and without heat, electricity, or running water. Worst of all, there’s no end in sight.

In only nine months, a cluster of cells can transform into an infinitely complex human body. In only nine months, a vaccine can be delivered to end a global pandemic. In only nine months, a space mission can travel millions of miles from Earth to Mars. In only nine months, the seemingly impossible can be accomplished when we come together and commit ourselves to the task.

Yet, nine months hasn’t been long enough for the majority of international businesses operating in Russia to do the right thing and to stop funding or otherwise enabling an unprovoked, inhumane, and illegal war. Instead, we have witnessed nine months of hedging, hand-wringing, and profit-sharing with the Kremlin.

In the past nine months, the world has been shocked by the shelling of schools and hospitals, by the destruction of Mariupol, by mass graves in Bucha and Izyum, by torture and terrorizing of the most vulnerable, by Russian “filtration” camps and forceful deportation of Ukrainians, by kidnapping and illegal adoption of Ukrainian children, and by the deliberate destruction of Ukraine’s life-supporting infrastructure, even as winter approaches.

Nine months into this war millions of Ukrainians live without heat or running water. Nine months into this war 15 million Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes and 8 million of them have been forced to seek shelter outside Ukraine. Nine months into this war and 433 children have been killed. Only yesterday a two-day-old boy was killed when a Russian missile destroyed a maternity ward in a small Ukrainian town. For Ukrainians, these past nine months have seemed the longest in their memory.

We believe it unconscionable that in those nine months international companies, public and private, large and small, have continued to operate in a country that commits these atrocities and indirectly fills its war coffers.

Nine months is more than enough time for these companies to identify and end relationships with the Russian state, its owned and affiliated businesses, and oligarchs that are directly or indirectly supporting the invasion and occupation of Ukraine. It’s more than enough time for them to terminate the manufacture, sales, and delivery of their products and services to Russia, as well as the payment of taxes and revenues. And following President Putin’s partial mobilization order, it’s past time they understand that it’s no longer possible to protect their employees in Russia. It is enough time to arrive at the inevitable if painful conclusion: to end all operations and business relationships with the Russian government is the only way to avoid the risk of being complicit in its war crimes.

We, the members of B4Ukraine coalition, firmly believe: values cannot be treated as meaningless public relations statements, human rights are non-negotiable, and companies must be held accountable not just to the law but to the life and death demands of the Ukrainian people. Businesses that contribute to Russia’s war by paying taxes and supplying resources to Russia must leave now or be held to account.

The time to act responsibly is rapidly ticking away. The closing bell on responsible corporate behavior in Russia is set to ring on February 24, 2023. We call on those who wear the mantle of leadership to put people before profit.

The missiles that hit Ukrainian cities on February 24, 2022, launched a war not only against a sovereign and democratic nation but against the very foundations of sovereignty and democracy. The Ukrainian people’s fight is our fight. Their victory will be a victory for all those who treasure human life, fundamental rights, and a desire to live in peace and security. Conversely, their defeat will see nothing less than the unraveling of the international legal order and a return to territorial conquest.

The clock is ticking. Business leaders must act today.

Stop funding Russia’s war against Ukrainians and the free world.

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