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Rinat Akhmetov Donates a Record-Breaking $150 Million in Aid in Just One Year

It’s now been more than one year since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, leading to an unnecessary and brutal war that’s already claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people. 

From the very moment that Russian forces laid boots on the ground, billionaire businessman Rinat Akhmetov promised one thing: He would do all he could and spare no expense to ensure that Ukraine emerges from this conflict victorious and that the Ukrainian people reclaim the land that is rightfully theirs. 

After a year of bloodshed, Akhmetov has stuck to his word and in doing so has allocated more than 5 billion hryvnia (approximately $150 million) in funding through various aid projects. This financing has been used to equip the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the gear they need to defend their country, ensure that critical civil infrastructure stays online, and see that innocent civilians impacted by the war have somewhere to sleep, food to eat, and access to medical care.

“One year into the war, SCM [System Capital Management, Akhmetov’s holding company] businesses, my foundation, and [Akhmetov-owned professional soccer club] FC Shakhtar have donated $150 million in aid to help Ukraine and Ukrainians. Our assistance includes body armor, vehicles, equipment, and fortifications for the Ukrainian Defense Forces, medicines and other humanitarian aid for civilians, and efforts to keep critical infrastructure up and running,” Akhmetov said in a recent email interview with Forbes

Supporting Ukraine’s Brave Defenders

Indeed, it is Ukraine’s military that’s been the focus of many of Rinat Akhmetov’s aid projects. Through Steel Front, an initiative led by his metallurgical enterprise Metinvest Group, Akhmetov has provided almost 200,000 armored vests made from Metinvest steel, alongside other equipment, to soldiers. 

“For SCM, this issue is especially important because more than 13,000 employees of the company’s businesses have joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Thanks to the initiative, law enforcement units from all over the country receive ammunition, cars, drones, special technical equipment (thermal imagers, range finders, cameras, etc.), fortifications, clothes and shoes, first-aid kits and tourniquets, walkie-talkies, fuel, and other necessary things,” reads a recent statement from Metinvest. 

In addition to manufacturing armored vests, Metinvest has developed and mass-produced a new type of modular steel shelter for soldiers on the front line. These shelters are collapsible, portable, and capable of withstanding direct hits from artillery shells. Over 100 of these shelters have already been delivered to Armed Forces of Ukraine units, and plans are in place to more than double this number. 

The Heart of Azovstal Project

It’s not just the military that’s benefiting from Rinat Akhmetov’s aid projects. A new initiative known as the Heart of Azovstal project has been launched by the billionaire businessman, who has already allocated 1 billion hryvnia to it. 

The Heart of Azovstal undertaking has been designed to support the families of fallen Ukrainian soldiers. It was conceived following the transfer of FC Shakhtar Donetsk left winger Mykhailo Mudryk to English Premier League club Chelsea FC for a total of $78.4 million and Akhmetov promised to donate one-third of the proceeds of the transfer fee to a new charitable project. 

According to Akhmetov, the money will be used to meet the needs of soldiers and their families, “from providing medical and prosthetic treatment and psychological support to meeting specific requests.” To ensure transparency, Akhmetov says that the project will have an independent professional team that will act as a point of contact for those eligible to receive support. 

Rinat Akhmetov Recognized as a Top Wartime Philanthropist

These myriad donations and aid projects have made Rinat Akhmetov one of Ukraine’s top wartime philanthropists.

This was officially recognized by a recent investigation carried out by The New Voice of Ukraine, which revealed the Ukrainian billionaires who had donated the most funds to the war relief effort. According to the investigation, Akhmetov tops the list with donations that as of September 2022 totaled more than 3 billion hryvnia — and today 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 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.” 

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