Menu

I Know Kharkiv Will Survive

By
Photo: "All well-known Kharkiv residents must support the military and show confidence," says Yuri Sapronov. Behind him are the flags of the combat units he assists. Source: Facebook/Sapronov Yuri
Photo: "All well-known Kharkiv residents must support the military and show confidence," says Yuri Sapronov. Behind him are the flags of the combat units he assists. Source: Facebook/Sapronov Yuri

What is life like in the city of Kharkiv, with a population of one and a half million, located 20 kilometres from the front line and 21 kilometres from the Russian border? How do the city's residents perceive it? What does it mean for them? How will Kharkiv endure the winter after Russian missiles destroyed all the power stations in the Kharkiv region?

Yuri Sapronov, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, volunteer says.


Before 2014, Kharkiv's proximity to the Russian border was a huge competitive advantage for the city. The gross regional product of the Kharkiv region was second only to the densely populated Dnipropetrovsk region and the country's capital, Kyiv. When the war began in 2014, and especially after the full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022, the region began to turn into a kind of dead end. Unfortunately, I think that Kharkiv will ultimately become one after the war ends. You can't choose your neighbours, and the border is too close. I don't believe that a major foreign investor will come to Kharkiv if the border with Russia remains near the city.


What are the current sentiments? We have had more sole proprietorships (a legal status for small entrepreneurs in Ukraine) shut down than in any other region of the country. Several dozen business acquaintances, probably small businesses, simply dismantled their equipment from their workshops and moved it to Kyiv and the western regions of Ukraine.


Photo: Before the Russian invasion, Kharkiv native Yuri Sapronov was known as a prominent entrepreneur and a patron of tennis and golf. Among his personal friends are global sports stars such as footballer Andriy Shevchenko and tennis player Elina Svitolina. Source: Facebook/Sapronov Yuri


I have significant doubts that these entrepreneurs will return to Kharkiv if they manage to set up and launch their relocated businesses in their new locations. But the city is alive. Perhaps we can refer to Mayor Ihor Terekhov, who estimates the population at about 1.1 million people, whereas before 24 February 2022, it was up to 1.6 million. I think about six to seven hundred thousand people have left, but they have been partially replaced by two to three hundred thousand people who came from the eastern districts of the region and neighbouring regions.


More than 5,000 multi-storey and single-storey residential buildings have been destroyed in Kharkiv. For comparison, just over 300 buildings have been damaged or destroyed in Kyiv. As a result, more than two hundred thousand Kharkiv residents are homeless. To put it in perspective, this is equivalent to the population of European cities like Verona (Italy) or Geneva (Switzerland). This is a colossal humanitarian disaster.


Despite the unlikelihood of foreign investors coming even after the war if Russia remains a neighbour, Kharkiv will survive. The city will definitely survive through its internal consumption and possibly if the government places orders with Kharkiv enterprises. The city still has over a million residents. Despite the cannonade just a couple of dozen kilometres from the city outskirts, many new cafes, workshops, and small family businesses are opening. Despite everything. And that is heartening.


And I hope that when we achieve victory, Kharkiv's factories will be filled with defence orders because, in my view, we must become a second Israel in terms of weaponry and technology.


But that's the future. For now, prominent Kharkiv residents should, in my opinion, stay here. It is expected that they will support the defence forces. However, their mere presence is their mission – to show the residents that they have not abandoned the city, that they are here. I believe this is the mission of all recognisable and well-known city residents.

Photo: Yuri Sapronov owns an extensive collection of French wines. Many unique items from this collection were sold at auctions to fund the purchase of equipment for Ukrainian soldiers. Source: Facebook/Sapronov Yuri


What does Kharkiv need most from outside? The most important thing, in my opinion, is to close Kharkiv’s skies from missile and air strikes. The Russians bombard the city with old S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, which they have in abundance. These missiles take less than a minute to reach Kharkiv from their launch sites on Russian territory. Additionally, the Russians bombard the city with glide bombs, dropped from aircraft also over Russian territory. These bombs are even more terrifying, carrying several hundred kilograms of explosives or even a tonne at once.


These bombardments create enormous psychological pressure and severe consequences for the city's infrastructure. Modern anti-aircraft missile systems could counter these attacks, but they would not survive near the border. F-16 fighters could make a difference; they could be a game-changer. This is not just my opinion; it is the result of my conversations with Ukrainian military personnel.


Ukraine, and the brigades defending Kharkiv, need artillery shells, lots of them. It seems that the shortage of shells has been somewhat alleviated in recent weeks. I think this is why the Ukrainian military managed to halt the Russian invasion across the border near Kharkiv, which began on 10 May. The conclusion is simple – we need a continuous supply of shells, unlike the situation in winter when there were only a few shells per gun per day.


Moreover, we need to pre-empt a potential humanitarian disaster if we do not solve the heating problem in the city. This issue will become critical with the onset of cold weather in October-November. Kharkiv is supplied with electrical and thermal energy by just five stations, which provide 90-95% of the city’s energy needs. In March-April, the Russians launched massive missile strikes on these stations.


Recently, I visited three of Kharkiv’s five energy facilities. The energy blocks there are destroyed, and the equipment is beyond repair. We need new equipment. The problem is that even if we have the funds to order this equipment, its production will take about a year or even longer.

Photo: Sapronov uses his own off-road vehicle to deliver equipment, medical supplies, and more to the military. Source: Facebook/Sapronov Yuri



I fear that Kharkiv might freeze. The problem is not even with electricity – generators can be installed; my golf club has a one-megawatt generator. But the issue of heating is colossal. It needs to be addressed right now.


I believe we can find a solution. The main thing is not to be late. We need to shout out now for our foreign partners to get involved. It seems too quiet around this problem now, as if the cannons have drowned it out. If we do not start solving this problem now, in five months, it could become a colossal humanitarian disaster.

Recommended

Economics

Lukoil Attempts to Circumvent Sanctions

07.19.2024 16:17
Economics

War, Drought, and Other Reasons for Expensive Food

07.19.2024 12:53
Culture

Top 9 Most Expensive Paintings by Ukrainian Artists

07.19.2024 10:15
Economics

China's Slowdown

07.18.2024 15:54
Life

Authentic Portugal

07.18.2024 10:05

Similar articles

We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you've provided to them. Cookie Policy

Outdated Browser
Для комфортної роботи в Мережі потрібен сучасний браузер. Тут можна знайти останні версії.
Outdated Browser
Цей сайт призначений для комп'ютерів, але
ви можете вільно користуватися ним.
67.15%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Google Chrome
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
9.6%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Mozilla Firefox
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux
4.5%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Microsoft Edge
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
3.15%
людей використовує
цей браузер
Доступно для
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Linux