March 14, 2023

Ukrainian Charity Event in Milan: Saving Lives Reports on its Year of Work and Raises €300,000 to Help People Affected by War

The Saving Lives humanitarian initiative, created by Metinvest Group in coordination with the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, reported on the results of its work to partners and donors at a charity event held on 8 March in Milan, Italy. During the past year of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, almost 500,000 people have received a total of €8,430,000 in assistance through the project, of which more than €2.4 million came from donors. A charity auction at the event raised another €300,000 to support Ukrainians impacted by the war.

What was the report about?

The Saving Lives initiative was created at the beginning of the war to help Ukraine. It provides large-scale and continuous assistance to Ukrainians with foodstuffs and essential items. Two hubs were set up for this purpose in Poland, where wholesale cargoes are collected, sorted, and prepared for shipping. In coordination with the Ukrainian government, they are delivered to the towns, cities, and regions where this support is most needed. Ukrainians from 70 communities have received more than 4,000 tonnes of foodstuffs and hygiene products over the past year. More than 200 companies from around the world have joined the project as donors. The initiative is supported by 400 volunteers and ten foundations and non-governmental organisations.

The healthcare sector has also received strong support from Saving Lives during the past year: medicines, consumables, and equipment worth more than €246,000 have been delivered to Ukrainian hospitals.

Together with the Ukraine Prosthetic Assistance Project, the initiative helps members of the military and civilians affected by the war to return to a full life. Thirty-four people who underwent limb amputations are currently at different stages of the prosthetic process and treatment, and seven of them have already received prostheses worth €10,000 to €30,000.

Saving Lives is also helping women and children affected by the war to recover psychologically. Thanks to the implementation of the Unbreakable Mum programme in partnership the Masha Foundation, 140 people have received assistance.

Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest Group, thanked the Italian and international partners of Saving Lives for their support of Ukrainians:

Friends are Ukraine's greatest strength. You have already helped half a million Ukrainians return to normal lives. Through treatment, psychological rehabilitation, and meeting their daily needs.  They will always remember what you did for them. And I sincerely thank you for that. I am confident that Ukraine will fight to win on its own terms. And it would be a great honour for me if Italian companies joined us in rebuilding Ukraine.”.

This year, the project intends to expand its assistance by involving at least 70 affected Ukrainians in the prosthetics programme. It is planned that another 200 war veterans will participate in rehabilitation programmes, and 500 mothers and 500 children will undergo psychological treatment. 

What happened at the event? 

The Saving Lives initiative brought together 185 representatives of the business community from Italy, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Ukraine in Milan.

The charity event began with a panel discussion on the future of Ukraine and Italy's contribution to the country's recovery in both industrial and intellectual terms. Yuriy Ryzhenkov, the CEO of Metinvest Group, executives of A2A Group, Acciaierie d'Italia, Danieli, and Fratelli Cosulich, as well as a representative of EUROFER, the European Steel Association, took part in the discussion.

“I would like to thank Metinvest Group for launching the Saving Lives humanitarian project, which is becoming ever more important given the terrible price that Ukraine and Metinvest have paid in this war. Today, the company continues to operate under the constant threat of Russian bombardment. This is the most noble way to pay tribute to the hundreds of employees who have died and the thousands who fight with devotion on the battlefield every day. This gives us hope for the future, the hope that Italy wants to give substance to, in both industrial and humanitarian terms," said Carlo Bonomi, president of the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria).

Councilor of the Municipality of Milan, Pierfrancesco Maran, and the Secretary General of the Central European Initiative, Roberto Antonione, also delivered opening speeches.

The international community has learned first-hand about the hardships Ukrainians are enduring. Participants in the Saving Lives programmes for psychological recovery and prosthetics told their stories. Yulia Fateieva-Khokhlova and her young daughter Alisa lost their husband and father, who was defending the country in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in the war. Ukrainian defender Anatolii Uzlov from Zaporizhstal and Azovstal employee Mykola Burlaka from Mariupol survived arm amputations and received prostheses.

The highlight of the evening was the auction, which featured rare artifacts from both wartime and peacetime donated by Metinvest, Ukrainian cultural figures and stars from the world of sports. The world-famous Bolaffi House conducted the auction pro bono.

Thirteen lots were knocked down, including: a copy of the mural from Mariupol, entitled “Milana”, on Azovstal steel; a painting by Dasha Kandynska; a military flag from Snake Island; workwear from an Azovstal bomb shelter signed by Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyi; football accessories from the Shakhtar Football Club; a tee-shirt signed by footballer Mykhailo Mudryk; a record by Jamala and more. A total of €87,500 was raised. All proceeds from the auction and donations collected at the event will go towards providing prosthetics and rehabilitation to Ukrainians affected by the war.

A photo exhibition that displayed photos of Ukrainian regions before and during the war was also held by Saving Lives in Milan. The famous Ukrainian chef Yevhen Klopotenko gave the Europeans insight into Ukraine’s unique cuisine. The evening concluded with a classical music concert by the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine under the direction of the world-famous Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv.

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