Security in Times of Uncertainty
Amidst a wave of support from countries around the world in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainians are fleeing the approaching war and taking only essential supplies with them, such as ID documents, other relevant papers and cash.
Images from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on 24 February showed people queueing for ATMs alongside crowded transport stations and packed roads as Russia invaded. The National Bank of Ukraine temporarily limited withdrawals to 100,000 hryvnia per day (around $3,340 or €2,970) to ensure banknotes were available to as many people as possible.
The following day, Russia’s central bank announced it was increasing the supply of cash to ATMs in an attempt to maintain financial stability. By 28 February, there was a run on cash machines across the country as Russians anticipated cash shortages and disruption of payment systems. Business Insider reported many people were hoping to withdraw US dollar bills as the Russian rouble plunged in value to a record low following economic measures taken by the European Commission, Canada and the United States.
Concerning Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to President Putin to stop the military operation and return his troops to Russia in a statement issued 24 February.
With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine. People – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price... We and our humanitarian partners are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need.
Bloomberg reported on 25 February that people in Poland—which shares a border with the Ukraine—were also hastening to ATMs and stocking up on cash. Romania has also seen a related increase in demand, which was reportedly being met as of 4 March by extra imports of euro cash from other European countries.