Against the backdrop of relentless conflict and uncertainty, Sayenko Kharenko Partner Nazar Chernyavsky offers a rare glimpse into the current state of his war-torn country and its resilient legal sector, shedding light on the challenges and adaptations of the Ukrainian people, the country's legal industry, and the significant strides made in mental health support and economic resilience.
With the war raging in Ukraine, there is a lot of curiosity about the current situation in the country and what might come next. “It's the question everyone asks but, truthfully, nobody knows for sure,” Chernyavsky begins.” We're witnessing heavy fighting reminiscent of World War I, with two large armies engaged in daily combat. The progress is slow, and the mixed messages from outside about ongoing support add to the uncertainty,” he says.
As for the Ukrainian people, Chernyavsky reports that “remarkably, most have adapted. We discuss potential changes in government, reforms, and our path to closer integration with the EU. But the uncertainty regarding the end of the war remains,” he says. Still, the war has taken its toll on the overall well-being of all. “Working in Ukraine now involves enormous stress – we've seen many breakdowns. As a firm, we're focusing on creating positive emotions in the office, like small gatherings for a better atmosphere. Also, we're deeply involved in our charity foundation, focusing on mental health rehabilitation for war veterans and their families. Partnering with NGOs, we've established rehabilitation centers and plan to open more,” he says.
Focusing more on the legal sector and developments within it, Chernyavsky reports that “activities have resumed, although we're not seeing large transactions yet. There's a surge in small transactions and disputes, including international and national litigation. Tax disputes with the government and advising on tax matters for businesses relocating outside of Ukraine are also significant areas of work,” he explains. “Additionally, we're heavily involved in physical relocation of production within Ukraine, dealing with real estate, zoning regulations, and permits.”
Interestingly, Chernyavsky says that “one of the most significant new areas is white-collar crime and sanctions-related work. Authorities are investigating and freezing accounts or shares with any Russian connections,” he says. “We're helping international businesses, often with complex ownership structures, to navigate these challenges and continue operating in Ukraine,” Chernyavsky notes in conclusion.