Conflicts & War

Sock factory in razed Rubizhne is reborn in Lviv

By Rostyslav Averchuk

Lviv, Ukraine, Nov 18 (EFE).- Despite the missiles, a textile plant in Rubizhne, which was destroyed in the battle of Luhansk, has moved its production to Lviv at the other end of the war-torn nation by relying on local and international assistance and bringing back its displaced workers from across Ukraine.

The Rubizhne Hosier Manufacture used to be a thriving medium-sized business that employed more than 150 people which exported to Spain, Czechia and the Netherlands. Its products, including a well-known special design of sock, were also popular in Ukraine.

While the Russian invasion left its plant in ruins and scattered its employees throughout the country, it could not prevent RMH from reviving its operations at a new location in Lviv.

“It’s only the beginning but we are very ambitious”, commercial director Olga Ushakova told Efe.

Starting as a storage clerk and having gradually moved up into senior management, Olga is an example of the opportunities the enterprise provides to locals.

She came to Lviv in February, a few days before the start of the full-scale invasion, looking for a chance to create a small production facility. But she didn’t expect the war would take such a devastating turn.

“We all thought it would be similar to 2014 when the situation stabilized after the initial flare up,” Olga says.

Instead, much of Rubizhne was razed to the ground as Russian troops attempted to suppress the Ukrainian resistance on their way to the nearby city of Severodonetsk.

With the help of local authorities and the agency USAID, the company leased a new facility. Further assistance has come from the International Organization of Migration and the Danish Refugee council, with the company eager to scale-up its production as soon as possible.

Seventeen of its employees, displaced from Rubizhne, answered the call to come to Lviv.

One of them, Tetiana, came to Lviv with her 78-year-old mother. While many elderly people are often reluctant to leave their homes, her mother didn’t really have a choice after a bomb landed on her house.

Having had to melt snow for water during the siege of Rubizhne, Tetiana is unfazed by the Russian attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure that have left millions without power.

“They will fail to subjugate us”, she says confidently.

The owners, Gennadiy and Oleg Misyurenko, agree. Although the plant lacks the funds to install an expensive electricity generator needed to power production, it has so far endured no power outages.

Another employee, Olena, says she misses her home city and will return to Rubizhne – even on foot – as soon as it is liberated to rebuild their lives.

What is clear, the employees say, is that Ukraine needs to beat Russia and make it unable to attack their country ever again.

“While the rest of humanity prepares for a journey to Mars and develops smart homes, Russia keeps waging a brutal war of conquest against us as if it were stuck in the Medieval times,” says Olga, whose husband has been fighting with the Ukrainian army.

“In order to be free, we are forced to fight. But we want this war to be the last one. So that our children live in a strong, free and independent Ukraine and do not experience what we are going through,” she says.

The threat of a cold winter without electricity and heating does not scare them.

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