Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is obviously killing civilians and destroying infrastructure throughout the country. It’s also affecting the auto industry there and across wider Europe, from the wiring harnesses we mentioned earlier today to new announcements from Ford and Stellantis. And there’s reason to think in bigger terms than today’s business deals, since there are massive lithium deposits in the ground in Ukraine. What this means for raw materials for future electric vehicles can’t yet be determined, but it’s worth thinking about as the world reacts to Russia’s actions.

Following decisions by Apple and other major automakers to stop or otherwise curtail activities in Russia, Ford announced that it will suspend all of its joint venture operations in Russia, effective immediately, until further notice.

“As part of the global community, Ford is deeply concerned about the invasion of Ukraine and the resultant threats to peace and stability,” the company said in a statement. “The situation has compelled us to reassess our operations in Russia. In recent years, Ford has significantly wound down its Russian operations, which now focus exclusively on commercial van manufacturing and Russian sales through a minority interest in the Sollers Ford joint venture.”

Even though Stellantis only has 71 employees based in Ukraine, it announced today it will donate 1 million euros (around $1.1 million U.S.) to Ukrainian refugees and civilians. Stellantis’ head of operations in Ukraine will help the automaker work with local non-governmental organizations that are supporting Ukrainians to get the funds where they need to go.

“Stellantis condemns violence and aggression and, in this time of unprecedented pain, our priority is the health and safety of our Ukrainian employees and families,” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. “An aggression that shook a world order, already unsettled by uncertainty, has been launched. The Stellantis community, made of 170 nationalities, looks with dismay as civilians flee the country. Even if the scale of casualties is not yet apparent, the human toll will be unbearable.”

As of this morning, Stellantis said all of its 71 employees there were safe. This is not a normal line to read in automotive press releases, but this is not a normal time.

Even though Ford said it doesn't have any “significant operations” in Ukraine, “we do have a strong contingent of Ukrainian nationals working at Ford around the world, and we will continue to support them through this time,” the company said in a statement. Ford will donate $100,000 to the Global Giving Ukraine Relief Fund to be used for humanitarian aid for Ukrainian citizens and families.

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