Pons Quintana, which is represented in stores in Russia and Ukraine. | Gemma Andreu

The volume of business that Mallorcan and Balearic companies have in Russia and Ukraine is very low. The total value of Balearic exports to Russia in 2021 was 470,000 euros; to Ukraine it was 170,000 euros. By way of comparison, exports to the UK and Germany, for example, were 101 million and 306 million, respectively.

Concern in the Balearics is more for the humanitarian situation and for friends and acquaintances that business connections have created over the years.

At a company in Alaior (Minorca), Metalurgia Pons, Bernat Pons Mascaró, admits that its Russian market "is not very important, but every bit adds up". All orders have been put on hold. "We are now waiting to see what happens."

Pons Quintana is a Minorcan footwear firm. It has a presence in two stores in Russia and in one store in both Belarus and Ukraine. For now, business in Russia continues, but the company points out that "we don't know exactly what situation they are in there, we depend on the local agents who work with us".

As every year, they had planned to take part in an international footwear trade fair in Moscow at the end of March. The fair has been postponed to the end of April, but no one knows what the situation will be by then. It's a similar situation for another Minorcan footwear company, Mascaró, as well as Camper in Mallorca.

Bestard, the Mallorcan manufacturer best known for its hiking boots, have cancelled shipments to Ukraine. The commercial director, Mats Linholm, says that volume of business activity in Russia and Ukraine combined is under two per cent of the total - they sell considerably more in the Czech Republic, for example. Their main concern is with the human situation. "Many of our clients are also friends who have come to Mallorca with their families in the summer."

At Antonio Nadal Destilerías, known for instance for their hierbas, Biel Àngel Morey, the factory director, says that feelers have been put out for potential clients in the Baltic states in order to absorb production if activity in Russia and Ukraine cannot be resumed any time soon.

They are also continuing with plans to introduce products into the Polish, Romanian and Turkish markets, but it will be a long and complicated process. Rum, absinthe and gin are the most popular in Russia and Ukraine, Morey points out, but these will not necessarily be what other markets want. "Consumption habits vary greatly from one country to another, despite being close by."