Russia’s invasion of Ukraine touches all aspects of life, including the HVAC business. Many companies have limited their transactions with Russia, and the Ukrainian trade association asks for even more companies to take these steps. And for one HVAC contractor, the conflict is very personal.
According to press reports, Olex Shumishyn, principal of Murphy Mechanical in Escondido, California, traveled to the Ukrainian border with Moldova to help bring supplies into the country and his daughter out of it. Shumishyn is a Ukrainian native who studied at Odessa National Economics University. His daughter lives there now with his ex-wife. Shumishyn told a local news station he wants them both to leave with him. He recently returned to the United States.
Shumishyn started a GoFundMe page to provide aid for Ukrainian refugees. It has raised more than $35,000 from more than 200 donors as of March 23. Shumishyn wrote on the page: “We have (2) nine passenger vans, we are buying and bringing food and supplies to the border refugee camp, so that people can have a supply hot tea or snack while they wait in freezing cold for hours. Then we take refugees and take them to Chisinau to refugee shelters or train station or bus station.”
Meanwhile, the Refrigeration Association of Ukraine is asking HVAC manufacturers and suppliers to “completely interrupt supply chains to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.” In an open letter, the Association states that refrigeration technologies are used for cooling missiles and other military equipment, as well as cooling warehouses for munitions storage. The Association claims companies can use the force majeure clause in their contracts to stop exporting goods, including equipment, electronics, software, and raw materials.
Some U.S. HVAC manufacturers are already suspending business with Russia. In late February, Trane Technologies halted all shipments into Russia and Belarus, as well as new orders from the same. Carrier and Johnson Controls will honor existing contractual obligations with Russian clients, where possible, in a manner that fully complies with all sanctions and trade controls that have been imposed, but will not pursue new business opportunities there. Rehau Group has decided to suspend its operations in Russia and Belarus until further notice. So has The Chemours Co.
“As always, we will work to meet the needs of our global customers throughout this process; however, we believe suspending business with Russian entities is the right thing to do,” said Mark Newman, president and CEO for Chemours. "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and reassess in the future.”
Chemours has a small office in Moscow and is working closely with employees to ensure their safety. The company is also donating $100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross to support humanitarian efforts in the region. The Trane Technologies Foundation is donating the same amount. The Foundation is also making monetary contributions to People in Need, which is providing humanitarian relief in Ukraine.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced it will donate 1 million Euros to the UN Refugee Agency, to support humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. In addition, Mitsubishi Electric US will match up to $100,000 in employee donations to Direct Relief, Save the Children, and World Kitchen through its philanthropic arm, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. Carrier has launched a company match program to allow employees to donate to a worldwide nonprofit organization to support the Ukrainian people. All employee contributions will be matched dollar for dollar by the Carrier Foundation.
Many of the companies also have employees in the region. Company spokespeople said they are working to stay in contact with staff and to provide whatever assistance they need.