December 7, 2023


As a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine, thousands of civilians have already been killed over 21 days of the war, including more than a hundred children. Millions of Ukrainians are forced to hide in basements to avoid being torn apart by Russian bombs and rockets raining on their homes every day. Many are forced to leave the cities that Russians are shelling. About 2.5 million Ukrainians have already gone to Europe, but the majority are moving to well-fortified cities that in the center of Ukraine. There they get food and a place to sleep. One of the key cities where refugees flock to is Kryvyi Rih. The Head of the Military Administration of the city Oleksandr Vilkul has turned to the residents and businesses of Belgium with a request to provide assistance to Ukrainians.

Refugees in Kryvyi Rih
Refugees sheltering in Kryvyi Rih

The historical name of Kryvyi Rih is “New Belgium”

In the 19th century, rich deposits of iron ore were discovered in the Ukrainian steppe regions. Thanks to investment and engineers from Belgium, primarily from Liege, a powerful industrial city was born, which is now called Kryvyi Rih. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the key shareholders of local industrial enterprises were representatives of Belgium and France. Therefore, the region was known as “New Belgium”.

In 1920s, the Russian Bolsheviks with their bloody terror took away the property from the shareholders, drastically changing the life of not only Kryvyi Rih, but Ukraine as a whole, establishing their power here. Belgians, whose property was literally taken away, suffered huge financial losses. Even now there are many Belgian families who have preserved shares of those enterprises.

A hundred years later, in 2022, the Russians are trying to seize the same territory again, and once again ruin the peaceful life of people.

Kryvyi Rih is the birthplace of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainians forced to leave home by Russian invasion
Ukrainians forced to flee by Russian invasion

Kryvyi Rih now: tens of thousands of refugees and a powerful defence against Russians

Today, Kryvyi Rih is protected by a strong line of defence, tens of kilometers of trenches and anti-tank ditches, thousands of anti-tank hedgehogs, tanks and tens of thousands of soldiers. Civilian residents have joined the self-defense forces of the city, which already counts more than a hundred thousand people.

Refugees from Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson and other cities keep coming to the city, fleeing to Kryvyi Rih because here they will get help, a place to sleep and food. Importantly, Kryvyi Rih was one of the first to establish the logistics of delivering humanitarian aid from Europe. This enables the city authorities to provide food and medicine to city residents and refugees.

The city has already successfully resisted when Russian troops tried to capture it twice.

The first attempt was made immediately at the beginning of the war. Planes with Russian paratroopers intended to land at the international airport of Kryvyi Rih. They failed because as soon as the city had been hit with missiles, the Head of the Military Administration of Kryvyi Rih, Oleksandr Vilkul, immediately ordered to block the airport runway with trucks and buses.

Vilkul’s decision was essentially one of the factors that prevented Russia from carrying out a blitzkrieg – a plan to swiftly take over Ukraine. Because the city is located in the center of the country, between Kyiv and ports in the south, which are under attack by the Russians.

The second attempt to capture the city was made from the south. Russian troops were stopped near Bashtanka town by Ukrainian combat helicopters.

The fact that the Russian troops had been stopped at a distance of 50-100 km from Kryvyi Rih allowed Vilkul and his military team to build a powerful defense line around the city.

“Kryvyi Rih cannot be surrounded, it is 120 kilometers long, being the longest city in Europe. On the ground, we are ready to successfully defend ourselves and make counteroffensives. But it is very important for us that the European Union and NATO support the call of our President Volodymyr Zelensky and introduce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This will save thousands of Ukrainian lives,” said Oleksandr Vilkul, the Head of the Military Administration of Kryvyi Rih.

Oleksandr Vilkul
Oleksandr Vilkul

How to help the refugees who have ended up in the Ukrainian “New Belgium”?

Most Ukrainians are looking to the West, to the European Union. People hope for more than a supply of weapons and a no-fly zone over Ukraine by NATO forces. Ukraine is waiting for a strategic decision on the conclusion of an international treaty that would guarantee the end of the war. But while politicians are negotiating, refugees are in need of help.

“Volunteers, businesses, NGOs, industrial enterprises of Ukraine have already united to help refugees and civilians. In this regard, the support of people and businesses from Europe is crucial,” said Serhii Miliutin, the Deputy Mayor of Kryvyi Rih.

Volunteers unloading aid
Volunteers Unloading Aid in Kryvyi Rih

European Union residents can help refugees and civilians in Ukraine. The military administration of Kryvyi Rih has created a special website for NGO “NABAT-KRIVBAS”, which accepts such assistance. The site is extremely simple to use, convenient and linked to modern payment systems.

Website address:

Contact person for information: Anton Krasovskyi +380676309145 (Kryvyi Rih).

If Belgian entrepreneurs are willing to provide assistance, you can do it by sending funds to the following accounts of NABAT-KRIVBAS:

1. Account in UAH:

IBAN: UA453052990000026006020401103



Recipient code: 39381920

2. Account in USD:

IBAN: UA293052990000026008040406603



Recipient code: 39381920

3. Account in EUR:

IBAN: UA033052990000026000020406234



Recipient code: 39381920


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