Zaporizhzhia is one of the key industrial regions of Ukraine with focus on energy, metal and engineering manufacture. Known for its economic potential, since the start of the Russian large-scale invasion of February 24 it has been suffering from consistent destruction of civilian and economic infrastructure due to the Russian aggression – but most important are the struggles of the local people.
Approximately 60% of the region is temporarily under Russian occupation, which is looking to root out fierce resistance to the invaders. Occupied territories experience systemic and severe violation of human rights, people are subjected to enforced disappearances, torture and forced conscription to the Russian army, which is qualified as a war crime. Local infrastructure is being hastily redesigned to serve the needs of Russian army, with hospitals being a vivid example. Many territorial communities of the Zaporizhzhia region experience these very struggles.
According to the head of Zaporizhzhia military administration, as of the end of May only there were 300 confirmed cases of enforced disappearances. Local businesses – the ones that managed to survive the invasion so far – are subjected to asset-grabbing and raiding. At the same time, there is a wide campaign of the enforced passportization in order to broaden the forced conscription of Ukrainians to the Russian army.
It is not surprising then, that many people were forced to flee in order to avoid occupation and make room for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to combat the invading army. In some towns and villages, up to 80% of people have temporarily relocated – a lot of them will not be able to return to their homes, now destroyed. The whole region has been subjected to extreme shelling and missile attacks, leading to high degree of destruction.
One of the most notorious incidents in the region took place in the town of Energodar, where Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is located – the largest in Europe. Russian invaders have captured the plant and held personnel hostage; their actions resulted in the fire, and for some time the world was on the brink of another Chernobyl – although in this case the consequences would have been much more devastating.
Despite the challenges and dangers, imposed by the invasion on the people of Zaporizhzhia, the region keeps resisting. Today Ukraine In Flames #114 turns to the region in order to find out how they keep fighting under the pressure of Russian war.
- Artur Kuzmenko, Head of the Zaporizhzhia city branch of the NGO “Democratic Ax”
- Volodymyr Sosunovskyi, Head of the Kushugum community
- Serhiy Yarmak, Head of Hulyaipillia city community
- Natalia Zvoryhina, editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Zaporizka Pravda”
- Inna Bakhtina, journalist and volunteer from Zaporizhzhia.
UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ukrainian Catholic University’s analitical center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”. We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.
If you want to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, check the link with recommendations by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine.
NGO Euroatlantic Course collects donations to support Ukrainian Army and civilians – https://eac.org.ua/en/main-page/.