In a few short months, it will be one year since Russia launched its latest assault on Ukrainian sovereignty. The ongoing war poses a major threat to the future of global stability, and millions of Ukrainian citizens have fled the country to escape the horrors of a war that has been unjustly unleashed on them.
Though there’s no shortage of examples of countries, organizations, and even individuals that have offered support, one Ukraine national, Rinat Akhmetov, put his charitable operations into overdrive when the war broke out, and as a result has directly provided aid to more than 13.5 million people.
“Today, the entire world worries about us,” Akhmetov said to his employees during a visit to his Metinvest Group’s facility in Mariupol back on Feb. 16, shortly before the start of the current Russian invasion. Akhmetov thanked them for their dedication amid “uneasy, dangerous, and anxious times,” promising a series of new investments. Akhmetov also talked about his home city of Donetsk and how it has been occupied for the past eight years, arguing that peace can only be achieved in a “united and happy Ukraine.”
Rinat Akhmetov: Restoring Access to Electricity, Communications
According to a recent press release, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has restored access to electricity and communications for 10 million people.
In addition, due to the duration of the war and the rapidly growing demand for humanitarian support in de-occupied territories, Rinat Akhmetov recently scaled up his food assistance program. “In total, half a million food assistance packages will be provided to the residents of Ukraine,” reads the press release.
The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has already provided more than 600,000 units of critical medicines and more than 60,000 blood transfusion bags. “The most vulnerable categories of citizens constantly receive food assistance packages and hygiene items from the foundation,” according to the press release.
Overall, since Russia ramped up its aggression in Ukrainian territory in February, Rinat Akhmetov’s business assets, including his namesake foundation, System Capital Management (his holding company), and the Shakhtar Donetsk Football Club have provided over UAH 3 billion (approximately $81 million) in aid that has improved the lives of more than 13.5 million people. On top of providing support directly to the Ukrainian people, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation also has its Museum of Civilian Voices project — the world’s largest archive of stories from Ukrainian civilians who have been affected by the war. To date, more than 35,000 stories have been collected.
The Museum of Civilian Voices
The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s Museum of Civilian Voices has been collecting and sharing stories about life during the war in Ukraine since 2014. The foundation started to gather thousands of stories from civilians in Donbas after it launched its Here to Help Humanitarian Centre.
The museum’s collection of stories provides an insight into the impact of the invasion through interviews, pictures, and videos documenting the tragedies, reporting on the circumstances, and amplifying the personal impact on citizens of the ongoing war. Its primary goal is to become a trusted source of information, and Akhmetov and the museum aim to ensure that not a single story remains untold. “It is important to preserve the memory of the past and the present for a peaceful, better future for Ukraine,” says the foundation’s website.
“Since the outbreak of the armed conflict in Donbas, Rinat Akhmetov saved lives [of] millions people on both sides of the contact line. This is 1 millions’ fate. The story of each of them is worth a separate tale. The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation collects stories of survival of Donbas civilians in the conditions of armed conflict to tell the world about the fates of these people,” reads another excerpt from the museum’s website.
The number of stories collected continues to grow with each passing day as more Ukrainian citizens share their experiences of the war crimes and atrocities they’ve faced since February.
The work of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation is a representation of the lengths that Akhmetov is willing to go to help save his home country. “I am in Ukraine, and I am not going to leave the country,” he told Forbes Ukraine in an interview earlier this year. “I share the same feelings with all Ukrainians: I am sincerely waiting for the victory of Ukraine in this war. And we will start to rebuild the country to make it happier and more prosperous. On my end, I will spare no expense or effort to achieve this goal.”