Heavyweight champ backs Ukraine #FightForLight

Close-up of bare-chested boxer Oleksandr Usyk training with speed bag.
Ukrainian World Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk in training for his title fight against Britain’s Tyson Fury in Riyadh, on May 18

Vital works to restore war-hit energy supplies in Ukraine have won heavyweight support in the shape of a reigning Ukrainian world champion, partnering the country’s leading investor in the #FightForLight.

World heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk is backing efforts to rebuild his country’s energy system after devastating Russian attacks over recent weeks and months, with the latest only yesterday.

Ahead of the boxer’s successful fight with Britain’s Tyson Fury to become Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, Usyk announced he is partnering with Ukrainian energy company DTEK.

Together they aim to draw global attention to the plight of Ukraine’s civilian power system.

Billions of Dollars of damage already done

Since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia has damaged or destroyed 50% of the country’s energy system. Just this spring, enemy attacks meant Ukraine lost 80% of its thermal power capacity, 30% of hydro-electrical facilities and dozens of critical substations across the country.

The financial costs are massive. According to the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, the damage to the power system, excluding the latest attacks, had already amounted to $11.5 billion.

Usyk will be supported in Riyadh’s Kingdom Stadium by around 30 war veterans who have returned to work at DTEK after frontline action in some of the war’s most intense battles.

Call for tech help ahead of freezing winter

As well as promoting awareness, the #FightForLight partnership between Usyk and DTEK will appeal to energy companies across the sector for urgent technical assistance.

Help in the form of replacement generators, transformers, turbines and the like, is absolutely vital before the onset of winter in six months’ time, when temperatures regularly fall below -20°C.

The #FightforLight partnership covers delivery of heat, too, says DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko:

“DTEK is doing everything possible to draw the attention of the world community to the energy infrastructure destroyed by the enemy and the need to restore it and protect it from new attacks by Russia.

“We appreciate that Oleksandr Usyk and his team share these aspirations and will help the voice of Ukrainian energy workers be heard. We have a common goal and a common task – to protect our people and Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, so that every Ukrainian family has light and heat.”

A Russian missile attack on three DTEK power stations early on the morning of Wednesday 8 May caused further destruction to energy infrastructure already under urgent repair following four previous strikes in March and April. Reports of recent attacks on power plants have been fact-checked by BBC Verify.

Strategic value of partnership and collaboration

DTEK is the leader and the biggest private investor in Ukraine’s energy sector. Employing some 55,000 people, DTEK Group has restored power supply to 11 million customers during the war, working directly in the regions affected by Russian hostilities. 

Group companies are involved in coal and natural gas extraction; electricity generation from wind, solar, and thermal power plants; energy resources trading in local and international markets; distributing and supplying electricity to consumers; providing energy efficiency services to customers; and developing high-speed charging station networks.

With a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, the DTEK Group Strategy 2030 commits it to transforming into a more efficient, eco-friendly and technologically advanced business, guided by ESG principles.

The company is fully owned by SCM Limited. The final beneficiary is Rinat Akhmetov. 

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