A Nobel Laureate and business leaders headed by Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson are urging for a peaceful Ukraine-Russia solution. In an open letter published in the Virgin website, business leaders from Ukraine, Russia and other nations from across the world, including the heads of WhatsApp, Unilever, eBay and PayPal, say they would like help work towards a peaceful solution to the crisis.
The open letter begins by describing the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War as one of the greatest moments in our lives. Nobody wants to see those days return.
“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…”
Devastating . . . unimaginable suffering
They describe the loss of almost 300 lives in the downing of the Malaysian flight MH370 and the bloodshed of the ground in Ukraine as devastating … causing unimaginable suffering.
Nearly one quarter of a century after the Iron Curtain disappeared, “it looks like we are entering a new era marked by deteriorating relations and armed confrontation. This is not the world any of us envisioned,” they said.
Nations’ economies pushed down
The business leaders say that already economies and individual people have been affected by the escalating confrontation.
The German economy shrank by 0.2% in Q2 2014, according to figures published by Destatis. German business leaders and the majority of the country’s economists believe their country’s economic outlook has been seriously undermined by the Ukraine crisis and Russian sanctions.
The world is more interconnected today – it is a world with greater opportunities to advance peaceful solutions that will guarantee a better future for all of us. “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,” they wrote.
Governments must work together
As a group, the business leaders from Ukraine, Russia and the rest of the world are pleading that their governments work together to make sure we do not slide back into the Cold War misery of yesteryear.
The captains of industry are calling on lawmakers to be “bold and brave”, so that the painful suffering caused by war may end. They must collaborate for the greater good, they emphasize.
Sir Richard wants to meet Putin
In a Skype interview with Ukraine’s English language newspaper, Kyiv Post, Sir Richard said he would like to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He says he would tell Mr. Putin:
“President Putin, please don’t turn the clock back. We remember when the Berlin Wall fell and how wonderful both Russians and the rest of the world felt about it…Let’s resolve the issues diplomatically and not militarily. Let’s trade together, let’s marry, let’s go on holiday with each other. Let’s work together to resolve conflicts in the world.”
The letter was signed by:
- Arkady Novikov – Founder, Novikov Group (Russia),
- Dennis Ludkovsky – CEO, Svyaznoy Group (Russia),
- Evgeni Utkin – Chairman and President, KMCORE (Ukraine),
- Igor Mazepa – CEO, Concorde Capital (Ukraine),
- Igor Yurgens – President, All-Russian Insurance Association (Russia),
- Jan Koum – Co-Founder and CEO, WhatsApp (Ukraine),
- Jeff Skoll – Founding President, eBay (US),
- Max Levchin – Co-Founder, Paypal (Ukraine),
- Maxim Ivanov – Founder, Foodline Group (Russia),
- Mo Ibrahim – Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation (Sudan),
- Muhammed Yunus – Nobel Laureate (Bangladesh),
- Paul Polman – CEO, Unilever (UK/Netherlands),
- Ratan Tata – Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons Ltd (India),
- Richard Branson – Founder, Virgin Group (UK),
- Sergey Petrov – Founder, ROLF Group (Russia),
- Victor Pinchuk – Founder, EastOne Group (Ukraine).