Vism CEO calls on industry for Ukraine support

Russian forces reached Ukraine capital Kyiv today. Image: Google Maps
Russian forces reached Ukraine capital Kyiv today. Image: Google Maps

The CEO of graphics and signage installation workflow software provider Vism has called on the industry to support the Ukrainian army as Russian forces reached Ukraine capital Kyiv today (25 February).

These events came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was initiating a "special military operation" in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and launched a full-scale invasion into the country.

Berlin-based Dan Tyler, who founded Vism, which has an office in Lviv, western Ukraine, as well as London, posted on LinkedIn this morning:

“Dear network, please don’t scroll past this post. It’s probably the most important one I’ll ever write and people need your help. Yesterday, my colleagues and friends saw their lives change dramatically. After living under threat for the last eight years, their country was being bombarded from all sides.

“Today the first thing I did when I woke up was check the status in Lviv and make sure things hadn’t escalated there. What I found was photos of some of the damage to CIVILLIAN buildings across Ukraine done whilst we slept.

“Being back in Berlin now, it’s hard not to feel like I’ve abandoned my friends and colleagues. I’ve spent the last 24 hours desperately trying to think of what I can do to help. One of the strongest messages coming out of Ukraine, is please help the army.

“That, and ask your governments to do more. (UK, US, EU, I see you sitting on your hands whilst your talk about your ‘huge sanctions’.”

He added: “Friends, if you can, please donate to the Ukrainian army. There are some secure ways of doing so and I’ll share those.

“Please, find a Ukrainian person today and tell them you see them and you support them. It doesn’t matter if they’re a total stranger. You have no idea how strong the message that sends will be.

“And please, shout about this. Donate. Use your platform. Use your voice. Post on social media. Educate yourself. Educate others. Find protests and join them. Write to your MPs and representatives. Do something please. Stand with Ukraine. In your actions, not your words and hashtags.”

Tyler described his Ukrainian team as “some of the kindest, smartest, most ambitious people you could ever meet”.

“I’m proud to know them. Amongst them are some brilliant people who support this industry with all the different projects we run.

“Some of them are currently in cars rushing to the border, having been forced to try to flee their homeland, others are standing in the queue at the territorial army offices preparing to fight, and others are taking shelter in subway stations as bombs fall around them.

“It’s hard to find the words to express how angry I am right now at the world’s response. I’m trying to channel it instead into encouraging as many people as possible to help in any way they can.”

He detailed ways people can help in his Linkedin post.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this morning to express his solidarity with Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy updated the Prime Minister on the most recent Russian military advances, including missile and artillery strikes on Ukrainian cities and the developments in Kyiv this morning.

A statement from the government said: “The Prime Minister assured President Zelenskyy that the world is united in its horror at what Putin his doing. He paid tribute to the bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people in standing up to Russia’s campaign of violence, and expressed his deep condolences for those who have been killed.

“The Prime Minister committed to provide further UK support to Ukraine in the coming days as the people of Ukraine and the world continue to demonstrate that Putin cannot act with impunity.”

Separately, WAN-IFRA and the World Editors Forum have called for journalists covering the unfolding conflict to be afforded the maximum protections.

They said that as signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both Russia and Ukraine have binding commitments under international human rights law to respect the right to freedom of expression. That journalists are civilians and, as such, should be treated as non-combatants.

Other UK print companies with Ukraine offices include Communisis, which has a Kyiv base. In 2019 Paragon Group acquired various parts of the Howard Hunt Group including ORM, which at the time of the deal also had a base in Kyiv. ORM specialises in digital strategy, technology platforms, data, customer experience, design, brand and marketing communications.