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Ikea Lovers Find Middlemen on Web as Retailers Shun Ukraine

  • Unsanctioned Ukrainian resellers pass on goods from Poland
  • Foreign retailers still holding back on Ukrainian investments
Chair designs sit on display inside an Ikea AB store in Poznan, Poland, on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. The Swedish company, which globally has spent 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) on renewable energy projects since 2009, said last month it was finalizing a deal to purchase a 51-megawatt wind farm, its sixth and biggest yet in Poland.
Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

In a crumbling Soviet-era apartment building in Kiev, up a rattling graffiti-scarred elevator, Anastasia Chumak has created an oasis of comfort furnished by Ikea.

The catch: there is no Ikea outlet in Ukraine. So Chumak turned to a local web-based entrepreneur, who takes orders from Ukrainians, buys the goods from an Ikea store in Poland and trucks them back for delivery. After two years of equipping her flat with kitchen gadgets, a beige Ektorp sofa and colorful Swedish bedding, Chumak also uses such unsanctioned internet resalers to buy other goods not available in the war-rattled nation.