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Ukraine makes military gains, but Cincinnati's sister city Kharkiv is still on edge

Russia Ukraine War
Francisco Seco
A local resident walks past a heavily damaged building in Saltivka residential district, north Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022.

Cincinnati's Ukrainian sister city isn't currently under the threat of being captured by Russian forces, but it's still targeted by rockets. Sister City Partnership President Bob Herring says Ukrainian counterattacks have pushed the invaders away from Kharkiv, but the rockets are taking a toll.

“They’re experiencing rolling blackouts and have been told by the city to expect that that will continue,” he says. “The other piece of it is the attacks often come in the middle of the night. The Russian strategy appears to be ‘let’s wake the folks up sometime when they’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.’ ”

Herring says Kharkiv is hosting a number of people from the region displaced by the war.

“What they’ve got is a surge of homeless people leaving the newly liberated areas because there’s nothing there. There’s no place to live and they’ve lost everything,” he says. “The Red Cross is doing whatever they can to house them, to feed them.”

He says there are plans to resettle displaced people and build new farms, but resources are tight and the area is still under bombardment.

Members of the Cincinnati Kharkiv Sister City Partnership are still in touch some 10 months after Russia invaded Ukraine. Herring says his contacts left Kharkiv and haven't returned.

“I think people are not returning because they don’t know the final outcome of the war” he says. “Although it looks very favorable for Ukraine at the point, but also as the winter comes and as the Russians target the power grid, the water stations, returning would be problematic at best.”

Herring says Kharkiv winters are cold. “Snow, sub-freezing temperatures. I’d say a bit colder than Cincinnati, probably closer to Chicago’s.”

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.