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The Coder Supply Chain Runs Through Ukraine

Big tech (Apple and Google), big banks (Citi and JPMorgan) and carmakers (Daimler and BMW) all rely on Ukrainian code.

Members of Ukrainian forces patrol the streets at Maidan square in Kyiv, on Feb. 27.

Members of Ukrainian forces patrol the streets at Maidan square in Kyiv, on Feb. 27.

Photographer: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

The maps that connect Lyft Inc. customers with their nearest driver, the grammar software that tells you when to use “whom” instead of “who” and the targeting system that helps players of the newest Assassin’s Creed video game aim a weapon, all owe a debt of gratitude to programmers in Ukraine. The country is among the largest exporters of information-technology services in Europe, known for its well-educated and affordable labor market.

There are roughly 250,000 technology professionals in the country. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine imperils many of their lives. It has also disrupted projects at a raft of global tech companies and startups. Employers are now arranging escape plans for their workers in Ukraine and setting aside financial aid. Apple Inc. and Google have outposts there, as does France’s Ubisoft Entertainment SA and Israel’s Wix.com Ltd.