Michael Capponi: Nova Kakhovka dam explosion was an incredibly horrific situation
The founder of the Global Empowerment Mission foundation Michael Capponi said in an interview for TVN24 BiS that the dam explosion in Ukraine's Nova Kakhovka "was an incredibly horrific situation". His organization in partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation were helping the locals on site immediately after the structure had been blown up by the Russians. "There were entire neighbourhoods that were completely under water, people on the roofs," Capponi added.
American businessman and humanitarian activist Michael Capponi, founder of Global Empowerment Mission, told TVN24 BiS about his experiences in Ukraine, including what he had witnessed in Nova Kakhovka where the local river dam had been blown up by the Russians.
"So first, the dam explosion was an incredibly horrific situation. We were there immediately with boats out in the water that must have been over 10 meters (high – edit.). There were entire neighbourhoods that were completely under water, people on the roofs," he said
"So we went from there to, basically, directly, to the east. Then, as soon as we heard that some areas were being liberated by the Ukrainian military, we wanted to be able to go inside and see what it was like in there. We met a lot different families, we were right on the outskirts, basically in the grey zones where people for the last 16 months under occupation had not been, basically, speaking to anyone from outside," Capponi added.
"As soon as we pulled up people were completely crying. Older women, basically, saying out loud in Ukrainian: 'we just want peace, we don’t want to live in a bunker anymore, we don’t want to live underground anymore'" - he went on.
"And then, you know, we meet people who have so much hope too and genuinely believe that this was is going to be over and that there’s going to be victory. And they are just waiting. And while we’re having these conversations, there's actually major explosions going off, where people are like jumping on the floor. It’s a scary situation out there. It’s definitely not something I would recommend any orgs to be going to that side right now. It’s very dangerous, there’s a lot of surveillance, there’s Russian drones, there’s basic aerial strikes going down," he explained.
"But the people we speak to are confident, and I do believe that, hopefully, by this year we’re going to see a lot more liberated areas."
The activist added that "everyone knows how much Russia hurt Ukraine". "Even if they weren’t so much into the idea before, at this point now there is no chance that the great majority of people we speak to want to be Russian. So when there is an occupied area by Russia, but the people there are in their hearts Ukrainian and they have had other people that they know be killed or suffered, there is no way they’ll ever pledge allegiance to Russia," Capponi said
So because of that it’s going to extremely difficult for Russia to be able to hold these particular areas."
Capponi mentioned ways in which his organization was helping Ukraine. "We purchase millions of dollars of Ukrainian-grown food directly from Ukrainian farmers. So that already puts money back into the economy. We’re supporting about 100 farms right now," he said.
The founder of Global Empowerment Mission also spoke about his experiences in Bucha after the town's liberation. "When Bucha was first liberated, and I initially met with mayor of Bucha in May, we were bringing aid and boxes of food for example. The mayor said to me: 'you know Michael, this is great, but we are proud in Ukraine and we would much rather get our supermarkets open again, our schools open again, so we can stimulate the economy and then you won’t need to give us free things anymore'" - Capponi said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24 BiS