Since the very first day of the war in Ukraine, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has worked tirelessly to ensure that Ukrainian citizens affected by fighting are given the humanitarian aid they need to survive and overcome their tragedies, promising that no expense would be spared in ensuring that Ukraine emerges from this war victorious.
Indeed, in the first year of the war, billionaire businessman Rinat Akhmetov stuck to his word and allocated more than 5 billion hryvnia (approximately $135.4 million) in funding through various aid projects. This critical financing has been distributed across a wide range of areas such as military, energy, health care, and humanitarian aid.
Feeding Ukraine’s Citizens
Perhaps the most important of all Rinat Akhmetov’s donations are his food kits, vital packages that help to ensure that no Ukrainian citizen goes hungry as a result of the ongoing war. Hundreds of thousands of these kits have been distributed since the outbreak of the all-out war February 2022, with thousands more currently making their way to internally displaced Ukrainian citizens.
Many of these bundles have been given to the displaced citizens of Mariupol, the port city on the Sea of Azov that was subject to a monthslong siege and eventual capture by Russian forces in May of last year. Hundreds of thousands of Mariupol residents were forced to flee their homes to various parts of Ukraine.
To ensure that these people receive the support they need, Rinat Akhmetov ordered the establishment of several YaMariupol centers throughout the country. These locales help distribute food packages sent by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation to internally displaced persons.
In January, more than 20,000 food kits were sent by the foundation to Mariupol residents who now live across 12 cities including Dnipro, Kalush, Lviv, Odesa, Cherkasy, and Chernivtsi. Other areas that have received these food kits include 19 de-occupied villages in the Mykolayiv region, where 4,000 kits were handed over, and, more recently, Donetsk, where 2,000 food kits with water purification tablets were disbursed.
Each food aid kit contains dry goods such as pasta, sugar, salt, flour, groats, canned beans, stewed meat, and cookies. According to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation website, more than 600,000 food kits have been donated to residents across 22 regions of Ukraine since February 2022, with a further 200,000 already earmarked for distribution over the coming months.
Rinat Akhmetov: A Prominent Wartime Philanthropist
The various aid projects led by Rinat Akhmetov led to his recognition as one of Ukraine’s leading wartime donors last year following an investigation by The New Voice of Ukraine.
The New Voice of Ukraine looked into Ukrainian billionaires who had made donations to war relief efforts. Akhmetov came out on top with contributions that have exceeded 5 billion hryvnia.
In a press release, a spokesperson for Metinvest Media said, “All businesses owned by Rinat Akhmetov, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, and FC Shakhtar [football club] are doing everything they can to help people, towns, and cities, as well as the state to withstand this war with Russia. The humanitarian efforts are coordinated with the national and local authorities to ensure that aid can reach as many people as possible.”
Community representative Vasyl Mitko said, “Each of us was forced to leave everything at home — property, cars, money, documents. Getting settled in a new place is not easy. Quality products are one of the basic human needs. We are grateful for the help from the foundation, it is very important in our time.”
Rinat Akhmetov’s food kits are distributed as part of the ongoing Rinat Akhmetov — Saving Lives project.