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Cincinnati's sister city Kharkiv in need of clothing, construction materials and trauma center training

a man walks through the rubble of his beverage plant that was destroyed by a Russian missile
Evgeniy Maloletka
Local resident Olexander inspects his beverages plant that was destroyed by a Russian missile in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

Representatives of Cincinnati’s sister city Kharkiv, Ukraine, call it a “resilient place” and are determined to rebuild and restore it to greatness. They spoke on WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition and at City Hall Tuesday, six months after their country was invaded by Russia.

Kharkiv Red Cross Executive Director Tatiana Zima and Kharkiv Red Cross President and Ukraine Red Cross Board Member Konstantin Bashkirov came to Cincinnati to thank the city for the $117,000 it raised, which assisted thousands of people who live in Kharkiv. It helped them buy food, medicine and needed supplies.

With winter coming, residents could use warm clothing, construction materials for repairs and small heaters.

Trauma centers are the next step

Zima and Bashkirov say children and adults have been traumatized and need rehabilitation. This week, they are visiting with mental health professionals in Greater Cincinnati to learn how to establish trauma centers.

“I think they are thinking to start in small towns to find a place where particularly children can come, and professionals can come," says Cincinnati Kharkiv Sister City Partnership Vice President Susan Neaman.

She says the use of art, music and books can go a long way in the healing process.

Bashkirov and Zima.jpg
Ann Thompson
President of the Kharkiv Red Cross Konstiantyn Bashkirov, with Red Cross Executive Director Tatiana Zima looking on, holds up a piece of shrapnel he made into a necklace because it was so painful to look at otherwise.

Bashkirov tried to describe the mindset of his fellow countrymen. “So, it is one thing if you are dealing with people who lost their homes, their near and dear," he says. "It’s another thing if you talk to the military. They have different sentiments.”

Tuesday, the Red Cross team met with a clinical psychologist and Friday will talk with Ft. Thomas, Ky., mental health professionals at the VA.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.