Ukrainians get tattooed to raise money for army

STORY: Every Saturday for the past seven weeks, a tattoo marathon has been inking customers, with funds raised being donated to Ukraine forces who have been fighting Russian troops since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.

The initiative has raised $9,134, said the man who started it, 34-year-old Sasha Filipchenko, a native of the Crimea peninsula which Russia has occupied since 2014.

On a typical Saturday, 50 to 70 punters get tattoos from a group of 15 artists.

"We have to channel our anger in an appropriate way during the fight. ... And, this is the symbol of wisdom and courage," says 18-year-old military academy student, Maksym.

After fighting moved away from the Kyiv region in early April, cultural life has started returning to Ukraine’s capital. Restaurants and bars have reopened as groups of young people again fill Kyiv’s public spaces.

The tattoo marathon takes place in Kyiv’s trendy Podil district, a pre-war hipster hub which is showing signs of revival.

"A lot of people donate to the army and it’s really cool that the tattoo masters do these tattoos for this (purpose). And it’s really important to support the army right now," another punter, Nataliya Shatkevych, told Reuters.

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