Odesa – ESI visiting Ukraine
As one of the IWM's Europe's Futures fellows, ESI's Kristof Bender visited Odesa from 20 to 22 April 2023. The trip was organised by the IWM's Europe's Future's programme. Kristof and his colleagues met with government representatives, civil society leaders, journalists, social scientists and businessmen.
Most shops, restaurants and bars work. Many residents have returned since spring 2022, though the city still feels empty. Some shop fronts are still covered up.
Viktor Berestenko in his office in Odesa. He leads a logistics company and chairs an association of freight forwarders. Most cargo now has to be shipped through foreign ports like Constanta, Varna or Istanbul. This has dramatically increased the lenght of transport by truck, leading to an explosion of transport costs. The port of Odesa and other Ukrainian black sea ports are only open for grain shipped throug the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
There is a curfew from midnight to 5 am. As personel has to get home before midnight as well, most restaurants and bars close at 11 pm.
Except for occasional air alarms and lacking access to the sea front (military area), life in Odesa looks remarkably normal. Here the well-maintained lawn of the Chernomorets stadium on 21 April 2023.