For customs broker Gretchen Blough, the Russian invasion of Ukraine not only drove up costs, it endangered her colleagues.

“We are seeing an increase in costs,” Blough said. “Especially Air Freight”

On Sunday, the European Union and Canada banned Russian planes from their airspace.

“All sorts of commercial flights were shut down because of this,” Blough said. “So it had a big impact there.”

In particular, she said the price of transporting COVID-19 tests by charter plane soared virtually overnight. “It went up half a million dollars.”

Blough works for Logistics Plus, a company headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, but with offices around the world. This includes an office in Ukraine, which employs around 50 people.

“Many of our European colleagues have reached out and offered accommodation, clothing, transportation – whatever our Ukrainian colleagues need,” said Blough, who added that at least seven Ukrainian employees had been evacuated to Romania or Poland.

For now, Blough and his colleagues are closely monitoring what is happening in Ukraine and how it affects them personally and professionally.

“There’s the weather, there’s the fuel prices, there’s a lot of things that come into play in the supply chain,” she said. “It’s just one more thing. Unfortunately, it comes at a huge human cost. And that probably makes it the worst thing of all.