Kharkiv makes masterplan for investment in reconstruction

Interview with Ihor Terekhov, mayor of Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv

by Courtney Fingar

Q: How is the current situation in Kharkiv?

When the war started, Kharkiv city was constantly under bombardment and shelling. Many critical infrastructure facilities were damaged. Approximately 50% of schools and kindergartens were damaged, and there has been enormous destruction of our higher educational institutions. Also, 77 medical institutions and more than 5,000 residential buildings were damaged. Among them, 500 cannot be restored.

Today the situation is complicated but fully under control. It is not as it was at the beginning of the war when Russian troops stood along the Kharkiv ring road on the city border and were bombarding Kharkiv from multiple rocket systems, tanks were shooting the city, civilians were being killed, and there was massive destruction.

Today life is coming back, people are coming back to Kharkiv, and the city is dynamically picking up the pace of life.  

Q: What kind of outside help does the city need right now most urgently?

First of all, I cannot separate the city of Kharkiv from the whole of Ukraine. The main task today is to win the war. When the war is ongoing we clearly assume that investors will not come. Our main needs are support of the international community and provision of heavy weapons, with the aim of our victory in this war.

Of course, after the war we should have precise security guarantees, such as membership in NATO or other alliances; this will protect the people and the investors. Then investors will come and we will work with the investors so they will have maximum safe conditions. 

Q: Are you planning already for reconstruction and recovery post-war?

We certainly don’t stop for a second, and today in spite of the war we have managed to reconstruct 200 residential buildings over the last year.

We are currently working with the famous architect Lord Norman Foster and his team together with local architects on a master plan for the city. The master plan is the road map for future decades. We want to create a new city but also to preserve the authentic city traditions. We want to develop and create a new European city — the ideal city of the future. The city should become the IT capital of Ukraine, also with modern residential districts constructed with energy-efficient technologies and convenient transport infrastructure so that people will want to visit and live in Kharkiv. We also plan for Kharkiv to be the capital of students in Ukraine and for it to remain a major metropolis for Ukraine.

Q: What message would you like to communicate now to our audience of international investors?

First I would like international community to support Ukraine, to support Kharkiv city and after our victory we will create all the conditions for investors to locate to Kharkiv, to receive income from their investments. And we from our side will do everything so that the process will have transparency and clarity for all the procedures that will be needed for the investors. We are highly interested for investors to come to Kharkiv city.       

This interview has been translated from Ukrainian and has been edited for brevity.