2022 Year in Review: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits home for some Indiana companies

After Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Hoosier companies with operations in one or both of those countries were forced to make some hard choices.

Companies that had done business in Russia had to decide whether to keep doing so, while companies with operations in Ukraine were faced with the challenge of protecting their Ukrainian employees and keeping their businesses functioning. 

A few examples:

Columbus-based Cummins Inc. was among the companies that decided to halt Russian activities. At the time of the invasion, Cummins had more than 700 Russia-based employees. The company had done business in Russia for decades, manufacturing products in that country as part of a joint venture with Russian vehicle-maker KAMAZ Inc.

Cummins initially said it was halting most of its activities in Russia. Then, on March 18, it announced it was indefinitely suspending all Russian operations.

Likewise, Indianapolis-based agricultural company Corteva Inc. initially said it was pausing new sales in Russia. In April, the maker of seeds, insecticides and herbicides announced that it planned to halt its production and business activities in Russia and withdraw from the country altogether.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. announced on March 15 that it was limiting its operations in Russia, although, in November, a Lilly spokesperson told IBJ: “We continue to focus on our ethical and moral obligation to patients—no matter where they live—who are suffering from life-threatening diseases like diabetes and cancer and depend on our medicines.”

Lilly has closed its Ukrainian office, though it continues to support its Ukrainian employees, the spokesperson said.

Greenfield-based Elanco Animal Health Inc., which makes animal food and medicines, said in its third-quarter financial report in November that it was limiting its business in Russia “to only the essential products” that support the health of animals and people, particularly around the issues of food access and availability.

Russia makes up a small percentage of these large public companies’ business. 

In contrast, the war in Ukraine has had a profound effect on Carmel-based Swan Software Solutions Inc. The company, which offers outsourced software development services to U.S.-based companies, was founded by Ukraine-born Alex Morozov and has most of its employees in Ukraine.

At the time the war started, Swan had more than 150 Ukraine-based employees working at seven offices in that country. 

Morozov said last month that most of Swan’s overseas employees still were in Ukraine, though most had moved to the western side of the country, which has been safer from conflict. Some other employees moved out of Ukraine to various countries in Europe.

“Fortunately, all of our people and their families remain safe and continue to persevere through difficult circumstances,” Morozov told IBJ in November.•

Check out more year-in-review stories from 2022.

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