Russian strike on Kharkiv printing house cripples Ukrainian book industry

Fire at the printing house in Kharkiv on May 23
Fire at the printing house in Kharkiv on May 23

The Russian missile strike on Kharkiv's Vivat printing house will significantly impact Ukraine's book publishing industry, reducing its overall capacity by 30-40%, Factor-Druk printing plant owner Serhiy Polituchyi told Radio Liberty on May 24.

The destruction of the printing house will disrupt “the printing of books, including textbooks, which probably made up to 50 percent of all textbooks that were printed in the country. And I don't know how we will do it tomorrow,” he said, noting that even before the attack, Vivat was unable to meet the needs of all publishers because it was not operating at full capacity due to the constant Russian attacks.

According to Polituchyi, it will take at least several months to restore the printing house. Without state and international assistance, “this problem will be very difficult to solve.”

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Relocating the printing house to safer regions is very expensive, and there may be a shortage of specialists in other regions. At least 85-90% of Ukraine's printing capacity is concentrated in Kharkiv, making it difficult to move operations elsewhere.

Earlier in the day, the head of the National Police's regional investigation department, Serhiy Bolvinov, reported on Facebook that all seven people killed in the Vivat attack had been identified using DNA samples provided by the victims' relatives.

“A 26-year-old Kharkiv resident had to provide DNA samples to make sure it was his mother. His mother worked as a typist in a printing house. Another of her colleagues, also a typist, was also identified only after comparing DNA samples. The samples were provided by the 68-year-old mother,” he wrote, adding that the same method was used to identify two other workers, a printer and a machine operator, who were in the shop at the time of the attack.

“Thanks to his brother's DNA samples, the fourth victim was also identified. The only man among the dead worked as a stacker-packer. Police found his parents in Sumy. In the evening, they were tested.”

All seven victims were printing children's books at the time of the attack.

“Five women and two men - each of them was just doing their job. This printing house produced children's books, magazines, school diaries, newspapers, and much more. Now there is no such enterprise in Kharkiv,” Bolvinov wrote on his X account on the days of the attack.

The attack on the printing house was part of a series of Russian missile strikes on Kharkiv and nearby Zolochiv and Lubotyn. Two missiles hit Vivat, killing seven employees and injuring 21 others. Vivat, owned by the Factor Group, was one of the largest full-service printing houses in Europe, producing books for its own publishing house as well as many other Ukrainian publishers. Its destruction has left a significant void in the Kharkiv printing industry.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine