Dutch entrepreneurs with employees in Ukraine and companies that directly feel the impact of the Russian sanctions feel powerless and desperate. But their willingness to take action and entrepreneurial spirit does not abandon them. “Give Ukrainians the opportunity to work here.”
Remy Lubbe, CEO of greenery company Molter, had not foreseen a Russian invasion of the whole of Ukraine in his wildest dreams. Molter grows and breeds perennials and exports them to more than thirty countries worldwide. Lubbe came to Ukraine once a month and spoke to his local architects and people from the embassy, among others. "They were all under the assumption: it concerns those two people's republics in the east. Nobody expected this.” Lubbe will not soon forget the day Putin invaded Ukraine. ‘Because I work so internationally, I check the news sites first thing in the morning. I immediately closed the app to call my Ukrainian friends.' The first Dutch person to call Lubbe lives between Kiev and the airport. He says that they were awakened at 5 o'clock that morning by missile strikes at the airport. Audibly emotional, Lubbe says: 'The whole house was shaking. Kiev is surrounded by rivers. Afraid that the bridges would be bombed, they drove out of the city at 6 o'clock, on their way to the Netherlands.'
Entrepreneur in Ukraine
Molter has been active in Ukraine for four years now. Four local (green) architects work there on a project basis. They are at home in bomb shelters at the time of the interview; one in Dnipro, one in Zaporizhzha and two in Kiev. “They are really panicking,” says Lubbe. “I speak to most of them two or three times a day.” The green entrepreneur feels powerless. "We can't do anything for our Ukrainian employees. You can only support them remotely, you can't bring them here. The men are no longer allowed to leave the country, many women want to stay with their husbands. Last night I was on the phone with one of them for half an hour, forty-five minutes. About small things, just to clear your mind.'