Despite missile strikes, businesses and society adapt to the new reality, with some non-war-related transactions in the works, according to Peterka & Partners Partner Taras Utiralov.
"Some time ago, when I was reading about the second world war, a thought cross my mind – that life must have stopped during those years," Utiralov says. "It was my surprise to realize that in Ukraine, life didn’t stop after the invasion. As we speak, there is a new missile attack on Ukraine, our staff is in shelters and work is interrupted as there is no water supply or electricity in Kyiv. With the electricity off in the whole region, mobile networks and the internet can also be down for some time. This affects businesses, of course, but it's not so critical for the legal business. It may delay some processes a bit in our industry, but it has naturally much more impact on restaurants, supermarkets, and so on." Still, Utiralov says that people continue to have as normal of a life as possible: "we have discovered how adaptive we can be. The sky is the limit – even missile strikes on power stations don't help Russia win the war, because we just adapt and continue."
According to Utiralov, the legal sector remained busy despite the war. "During the first few months of the invasion, we were busy with requests for information about martial law and employment, as people were moving from Ukraine. However, over the last few months, we have received more and more usual requests that are not connected to the war." According to Utiralov, these aren't landmark deals with multibillion dollars of investments, but still, there is a steady growth of such requests. "We also have litigations related to the consequences of the war, including cases where someone couldn't deliver a product because of the war or goods being stolen," he adds.
Utiralov says that real estate is on hold: "whatever asset you might buy today, can be destroyed tomorrow. On the other hand, businesses that have survived the war and are not operating in areas close to active warfare, are still involved in transactions." According to Utiralov, "such businesses included chemical production facilities, agriculture, and supply-related companies."
Utiralov highlights recent legislative developments in Ukraine. “As we received the EU member candidate status, we have to adopt a large number of new legislative acts," he says. "Additionally, in the last month, new legislative acts were adopted on joint stock companies, copyright, and electronic residency for foreigners. Interestingly, as soon as the last one comes into force, foreigners will be able to become taxpayers as entrepreneurs in Ukraine, and they will be able to complete many formalities remotely."
In addition, Utiralov notes that an important act was adopted recently, de facto enabling the electronic signing of documents between Ukrainian and European businesses. "Until Ukraine signs a respective agreement with the EU, we have unilaterally recognized that qualified electronic signatures issued in the EU are equal by legal force to those issued in Ukraine," he says. According to Utiralov, due to the war, "paper documents have become more burdensome, as a lot of clients were enquiring about electronic signing with foreign counterparties, as sometimes they have issues with it. As a result of the new act, electronic signing between EU and Ukrainian legal entities will become risk-free, therefore, we hope that it will have a positive impact on our economy."