By Editor Morten B. Reitoft

On May 24th, a deadly attack took place in Kharkiv, Ukraine. For many so far away that this becomes only a blink on a TV screen, and yes, the war in Ukraine has difficulties on the battlefield, but even more on the radar of media, populations, and the political leaders that must continue to support the Ukrainian population and military with funding and equipment. The war in Ukraine has become a war not only about Ukrainian independence but a fight for democracy.

The bombing on May 24th hit the printing company Factor Druk, one of the largest printing companies in Ukraine, and, among others, supplies school books. Seven people were killed, and more than twenty people were injured. The international media has covered the story of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting Factor Druk. Still, too few media in the printing industry have written about the story and even fewer speculated about the democratic consequences.

CEO Martijn Eier from Cloudprinter lives and operates the company from Lviv in the Western part of Ukraine. With several hundred employees, Cloudprinter experienced the war firsthand, with employees serving in the military and telling a story we must not forget.

At the INKISH NON-EVENT22, he told a story that left the audience speechless, silent for several minutes, and with tears in their eyes. You can see Martijn Eier’s presentation here.

The attack on Factor Druk was deliberate. The Russians wanted to hurt the school system and the education of future generations, and therefore, an attack also on a democracy. I am embarrassed that because of Drupa, I didn’t have time to write about the story supporting the families of the casualties, the employees, and the owners - and when I got home, I realized that two weeks is a long time.

At Drupa INKISH reached out to Heidelberger Druckmaschinen to hear if they knew about the bombing. Seven Heidelberg operators were killed. The machines are broken. What now?

Of course, Heidelberg had heard about the bombing and had already decided to support Factor Druk as much as possible. CEO and owner Sergey Polituchyi and I communicated briefly about the bombing and underscored that the most significant need is spare parts.

I understand that Heidelberg has since been in close communication and secured the needed spare parts. We have decided to visit Kharkiv.

This story must be remembered, and it needs to be written from an industry perspective. I have to go. I will meet with Sergey Polituchyi from Factor Druk and Volodymyr Misiiuk from Heidelberg, Ukraine.

Martijn Eier from Cloudprinter will accompany me on the entire trip. Without the support of everybody involved, this trip would be impossible.

Friends and family understand and don’t understand why I have decided to go. They also questioned when Ziga Kovac and I traveled to Israel. Some stories need to be told, and as a believer in Democracy, I can’t do it without risking anything—I hope and expect to get home again!

My writing and filming from Ukraine will be a diary, a documentary, and a personal journey.

Yes, I am worried, but not too much. I am traveling with Martijn Eier from Poland to Kharkiv, and as he speaks both Russian and Ukrainian, knows the country, and has years of war experience, I feel safer and have decided this must be done.

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Well done!

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