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Print industry responds to war in Ukraine

Following HP’s recent lead, paper manufacturers Stora Enso and EDM have stopped production and sales in Russia, Canon EMEA suspended all product deliveries into Russia and Messe Frankfurt suspended all trade shows in Russia, while Fujifilm, Orafol, BASF, global outdoor companies and others supported humanitarian efforts. Ukrainian OOH company Prime Group has launched an appeal for donations to help the resistance in Ukraine. Tech giant Microsoft joined Apple in also suspending product sales in Russia.

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 OOH shows support for Ukraine – messages from Australia, North America & Europe (courtesy World Out of Home Organisation)

“The war in Ukraine is unacceptable and we are fully behind all sanctions,” said Annica Bresky, Stora Enso’s CEO and president. 

The pulp and paper manufacturer announced it would stop all production and sales in Russia until further notice. Stora Enso has three packaging plants and two sawmills in Russia, employing 1,100 people. The company will also stop all export and import to and from Russia and is planning to find alternate sources of input materials.

“As a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the geopolitical situation in Europe has permanently changed,” according to pulp and paper company UPM, which announced it would also stop deliveries to Russia.

“This has wide-reaching human, political and economic implications in Europe and the situation is evolving rapidly," UPM said. "Our primary concern are the people suffering from the war. UPM is providing support to its employees in the affected areas. We have also started providing humanitarian and material support to Ukraine this week. UPM will cease its deliveries to Russia for the time being. 

UPM Raflatac has a distribution terminal in the Kyiv region which has been closed until further notice. In Russia, UPM employs 800 people, most of whom work at the Chudovo plywood mill. The operations are currently running as usual. 

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World Out of Home Organisation (WOO) member PRIME Group, based in Ukraine, is calling for donations to help support the resistance against the Russian invasion. PRIME is asking for donations for military government bonds supported by the Bank of Ukraine. Click here or on the image above to donate. 

"The World out of Home Organization has many members and friends in Ukraine and the wider region so we have been deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events that have unfolded in the last week," said WOO president Tom Goddard. "We stand four-square behind the Ukrainian people at this incredibly difficult time and responding generously to our Ukraine colleague’s appeal provides us with a small opportunity to express our solidarity.”

FUJIFILM announced a $US2 million donation to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and neighbouring countries engaged in aid to the people of Ukraine.

The company will donate $US1m to UNHCR and UNICEF for humanitarian relief efforts, and will also donate medical equipment worth $1m, including Fujifilm’s portable X-ray system and hand-held wireless ultrasound devices for medical care.

BASF is donating €1 million in Emergency Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine via the German Red Cross.

“There is a war going on in Ukraine!” said Martin Brudermüller, chairman of BASF. “The suffering for the civilian population in the country is immense. We want to help these people and therefore quickly decided to provide this emergency aid.”

The German Red Cross is supporting its sister organization, the Ukrainian Red Cross (URC), in comprehensive relief efforts, BASF said. “The GRC plans to provide people in Ukraine and people arriving in neighbouring countries with necessities: food, clothing, hygiene kits, but also communication devices such as charging facilities for cell phones.” 

Trade show organiser Messe Frankfurt has suspended all of its events in Russia, including Heimtextil Russia and The LED Show. In 2019, Messe Frankfurt RUS organized 16 international events with the participation of 3,640 companies and 168 000 visitors. 

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine poses an unprecedented threat to peaceful coexistence in Europe,” the German company said. “Messe Frankfurt supports all sanction measures taken by the Federal Government. Against this backdrop, the Messe Frankfurt Board of Management decided to suspend events of its subsidiary Messe Frankfurt RUS until further notice.” 

ORAFOL Group is donating to Aktion Deutschland Hilft, which is sending emergency aid to Ukraine. “Peace and stability are indispensable prerequisites for sustainable development in all areas of society,” Orafol said. “Crises and conflicts cause great suffering and deprive people of their right to freedom and security. The management and the whole ORAFOL Group are deeply saddened by the appalling situation into which citizens of Europe have been driven.

“The situation in Ukraine is developing rapidly and changing from hour to hour. As the most immediate way to provide assistance, we see the support of those who send emergency aid, medical teams and urgently needed supplies to the people of Ukraine.”

Tech giant Microsoft joined Apple in suspending “all new sales of Microsoft products and services” in Russia.

Canon EMEA also suspended deliveries into Russia: “The violence and destruction being caused by the military attacks on Ukraine is shocking to all of us," Canon said. "We share our heartfelt concerns for our colleagues and the Ukrainian people whose lives have been deeply affected. 

“As part of the world-wide relief efforts supporting Ukraine, we are donating to international aid and humanitarian organisations in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. As of earlier this week, Canon EMEA suspended all product deliveries into Russia. We continue monitoring the fast-evolving situation and developments. 

“We stand united in desire for peace.”

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Commentary: Can print help end the Ukrainian bloodshed? - Andy McCourt

It makes me proud to be a part of the global print and print-related industry with peaceful industry support and assistance flooding in for Ukraine and its people. It makes me angry that Vladimir Putin's abominable assault is making this necessary. I feel sad for the good Russian citizens and soldiers dragged into this insane conflict - fearful of vicious Kremlin reprisals should they show the slightest dissent.

Longfellow wrote in The Masque of Pandora: "Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad." Others, including Russia's own Dostoyevsky, in The Idiot, have channelled this saying, which originated with Greek philosopher Sophocles whose version I prefer: "Evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction." Clearly, Putin thinks he is doing the right thing and only the reasoning of Russia's own people can halt the bloodbath.

Leaflet Korean leaflet bomb

Printed leaflets being loaded for airdrop (Korean conflict)

Which brings me to a thought - could Print help stop the slaughter? It sounds far-fetched but airborne leaflet 'bombs' were used to great effect in World War 2, by both sides and often with propoganda and PsyOps intention. However, with the media so heavily controlled in Russia and captured soldiers in Ukraine saying they thought it was 'just an excercise,' - perhaps one simple question could be air-dropped by drones on the Russian convoys of tanks standing ready to annihalate Kyiv, and it is this:

"Brave Russian soldiers - do you really want to be part of Vladimir Putin's War Crimes?"

In Cyrillic, Google Translates this to:

Храбрые русские солдаты - вы действительно хотите 
быть частью военных преступлений Владимира Путина?

Video footage of captured Russian soldiers being
handed tea and mobile phones to call their mothers
would suggest that they don't. They also have been
lied to.