Europe and Russia

Urging a Peaceful Resolution to Russia-Ukraine Conflict

August 20, 2014  • Sir Richard Branson

A statement from business leaders urging an end to the ongoing conflict.

One of the greatest moments of our lives was the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Nobody wants to see a return to those dark days. As concerned business leaders from Russia, Ukraine and the West we encourage our governments to compromise and find a peaceful solution to the current conflict. If we can help in the process we’re happy to do so. Here is our statement, signed by 16 Russian, Ukrainian and international business leaders, calling for an end to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The devastating loss of nearly 300 lives in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 and the continued bloodshed that has killed hundreds on the ground in Ukraine have already caused unimaginable suffering. Nearly a quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, it looks like we are entering a new era marked by deteriorating relations and armed confrontation. This is not the world that any of us envisioned.

Already, citizens and economies on either side are impacted. As the world has become more and more interconnected, we have an opportunity to advance peaceful solutions that will bring about a better future for all. As responsible leaders, we must ensure that differences are resolved peacefully, through dialogue and diplomacy, and with respect for both national sovereignty and the right of all human beings to live in peace.

We as business leaders from Russia, Ukraine and the rest of the world urge our governments to work together to ensure we do not regress into the Cold War misery of the past. We call upon politicians to be bold and brave, so that our nations can end the painful suffering caused by war and once again collaborate for the greater good.

As a group of global business leaders, we would like to offer whatever support we can to help resolve this violent conflict. We appeal to other business leaders everywhere to open up a dialogue to create ways to resolve the issues peacefully.  Conversations, not armed conflict are critical at this juncture.

We all have a responsibility to work towards peace in Ukraine, so that people can thrive without putting their basic human rights at risk. Join us in this call for peace. We will do our best to ensure that your voice is heard by political leaders. We will also bring the right groups of business leaders together to work towards a better, more peaceful future.

Richard Branson – Founder, Virgin Group
Mo Ibrahim – Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Paul Polman – CEO, Unilever
Jeff Skoll – Founding President, eBay
Ratan Tata – Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons Ltd
Muhammed Yunus – Nobel Laureate
Maxim Ivanov – Founder, Foodline Group (Russia)
Dennis Ludkovsky – CEO, Svyaznoy Group (Russia)
Arkady Novikov – Founder, Novikov Group
Sergey Petrov – Founder, ROLF Group (Russia)
Igor Yurgens – President, All-Russian Insurance Association (Russia)
Jan Koum – Co-Founder and CEO, WhatsApp (Ukraine)
Max Levchin – Co-Founder, Paypal (Ukraine)
Igor Mazepa – CEO, Concorde Capital (Ukraine)
Victor Pinchuk – Founder, EastOne Group (Ukraine)
Evgeni Utkin – Chairman and President, KMCORE (Ukraine)