Metinvest’s Saving Lives holds a charity auction in Milan to support war-affected Ukrainians

Saving Lives, Metinvest Group’s humanitarian initiative, held a auction on the sidelines of a fundraiser in Milan on 8 March 2023 to support the war-affected Ukrainians.

The event brought together 185 representatives of big business from Italy, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Ukraine. The auction featured rare artifacts from both wartime and peacetime donated by Metinvest, Ukrainian artists, actors, and athletes. The world-famous Bolaffi House conducted the auction pro bono.

The highest priced lot – a copy of the Milana mural from Mariupol made of Azovstal steel – was sold for €14,000. In 2018, a portrait of 6-year-old Milana Abdurashitova was painted on the wall of a high riser in Mariupol. The war waged by Russia in Eastern Ukraine has broken her life. In winter 2015, shelling killed Milana’s mother, who covered her daughter to protect her. The girl survived, but lost her leg. In 2022, Russian invaders destroyed the mural together with the building. The mural was made by Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Korban.

“We were deeply touched by Milana’s story. We are delighted to support Metinvest’s initiative and will soon bring this iconic work on a steel plate to the Steelforce office in Antwerp. It will take a special place in our office building. As Milana has taken a special place in our hearts, I hope. As a symbol of human values that we should rely on in our personal and professional life,”
stated Kurt Crollet, CEO of Belgium’s Steelforce Group and new owner of the work.

A painting by Dasha Kandinsky bought for €13,000 was the second highest-price lot. The artist was born in Ukraine, and lives in Switzerland now. She is from the dynasty of Wassily Kandinsky, the founder of abstraction in art. Her personal exhibitions took place in Ukraine, France, and the United States. Her works were also exhibited in the UAE, Luxembourg, and Scotland. Dasha made the painting specially for this charity auction.

The victory flag from Zmiinyi Island was sold for €9,500. It belonged to the 73rd Naval Centre of Ukraine Special Operations Forces. The intelligence officers landed on the island as soon as the invaders left it to clear mines and collect data on the abandoned Russian equipment and weapons.

Overall, 13 lots worth €87,500 went under the hammer. The charity event raised €300,000, including donations from benefactors, which will be used to provide prosthetic treatment and rehabilitation of the war-affected Ukrainians.

The Saving Lives initiative was launched by Metinvest Group in concert with the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation from the first days of the war to help Ukraine. Over a year of the full-scale invasion, the project has helped almost 500,000 people. The assistance is worth €8.4 million. Ukrainians received more than 4,000 tonnes of food products and hygiene items, and hospitals benefited from medicine, consumables and equipment to the total amount of more than €246,000.

In coordination with Protez Hub, a prosthetics treatment support project in Ukraine, Saving Lives launched a prosthetic treatment programme. Thirty-four people who lost their limbs are undergoing prosthetic treatment now, with seven of them having already received prostheses worth under €30,000 each.

In addition, Saving Lives helps war-affected women and children recover emotionally. The project joined efforts with the Masha Fund to implement the Unbreakable Mom programme, which has helped 140 people.

More than 200 companies from all over the globe became the project donors, with 400 volunteers and 10 foundations and NGOs joining the initiative.