Factbox-European and U.S. companies mobilise to help Ukrainians fleeing war

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– Companies across Europe and North America have begun offering aid to Ukrainian authorities and people fleeing war following Russia’s invasion, as over two million leave their homes and head to safety in Poland and other neighbouring countries.

The following are some companies which have offered support:

ENERGY

TotalEnergies said on March 1 it would provide fuel to the Ukrainian authorities and aid to refugees in Europe, but stopped short of joining rivals Shell and BP in planning to exit positions in oil-rich Russia.

COMMUNICATIONS

Ukraine said in late February it had received Starlink satellite internet terminals donated by SpaceX, though CEO Elon Musk and an internet security researcher warned these could become Russian targets.

More than a dozen telecom providers are providing free international calls to Ukraine or scrapping roaming charges there. Firms taking measures include A1 Telekom Austria Group, Altice Portugal, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Proximus, Swisscom, Telefonica, Telenor, Telia Company, TIM, KPN, Vivacom and Vodafone.

NECESSITIES

Poland’s largest food retailer Biedronka said it would hire family members of its 1,800 Ukrainian employees, who would each receive a $233 grant. It has also introduced food banks collection points and pledged funds to bring food and hygiene products to refugees.


IKEA and the Ingka Foundation pledged $11 million for aid groups to bring products and services to Ukraine, while home retailer Jysk said it would give out free stock from stores it reopened in western Ukraine, and H&M said it would donate clothes and other necessities.

ACCOMMODATION

Airbnb said it was working with its hosts to offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, and that it was temporarily waiving its booking fees there.

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Nordic Choice offered free lodging in its Vilnius hotel, while Poland’s Arche Hotels said three days after Russia launched the invasion that it had already put up 1,000 refugees as it prepared to lodge 5,000, and called for clothes, Polish language books and toy donations for children fleeing Ukraine.

HEALTHCARE

Sweden’s Medicover and private Polish provider LuxMed said they were providing free medical assistance to Ukrainians coming to Poland, while Gdansk-based Nivique clinic offered free gynaecological services to female refugees.

Merck, Eli Lilly and General Electric have offered COVID-19 pills, funds for medical devices, insulin and coronavirus treatments, while L’Oreal said it had distributed 250,000 hygiene products and would provide more in coming weeks.

TRAVEL

Train operators across Central and Western Europe have meanwhile offered free travel to Ukrainians, while Flixbus added buses to run free routes to refugees of all nationalities from the main Polish border crossing of Medyka, as well as free tickets from Bucharest.


Low-cost airline Wizz Air said it offer 100,000 free seats to Ukrainian citizens on short haul flights from border countries.

Car rental companies Panek CarSharing and 4Mobility said they would allocate parts of their fleet for transport to the border and invited volunteers to help.

LOGISTICS

Ryanair, which has suspended all its flights to and from Ukraine, has begun carrying medical supplies from the United Kingdom and Ireland to Polish airports, its CEO said on Wednesday.

Trans.EU said it was organising a network of carriers to bring supplies to Ukraine from Western Europe and the CEO of Krakow-based InPost said he would mobilise parts of the parcel group’s fleet to bring aid to the border.

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Uber, which announced unlimited free rides from the border to Polish cities, said it was also working to transport 60 tons of essential supplies from Romania to Ukraine.

BANKING

Several banks have promised to waive or refund fees for transfers to Ukraine, including Dutch lender ING, Poland’s mBank and BNP Paribas’s Polish branch, which offered free withdrawals to Ukrainian customers. Nordea Bank ABP also waived transaction fees on donations to charities offering emergency aid.

DONATIONS OVER $5 MLN


Multinational firms and their foundations have pledged cash for aid organisations, including around $22 million from IKEA, $16 million from Danish toymaker Lego, some $10 million each from crypto giant Binance and Danish brewer Carlsberg, and $5 million each from Biedronka-owner Jeronimo Martins, French luxury group LVMH, U.S. internet giant Amazon.

($1 = 4.2888 zlotys, 6.6991 Danish crowns, 0.9030 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland, Marie Mannes, Marta Frackowiak and Federica Mileo in Gdansk and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by William Maclean, Gareth Jones, Tomasz Janowski, Maju Samuel and Kim Coghill)

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