World News

Fears of Russian invasion threaten Ukraine ‘Silicon Valley’ | Stories

Experts say that Kharkiv, 40km from the Russian border, may be the first city to face such a threat.

Kharkiv, Ukraine – Mykola Levchencko, a 45-year-old programmer, is ready to attack; next to his work desk are all weapons and a custom-made assault rifle.

Kharkiv City, the second largest city in Ukraine, Levchencko is shaped by nature in many ways.

The city is a technology hub, with more than 45,000 IT professionals. But it is only 40 kilometers (25 kilometers) along the Russian border, facing the prospect of being drawn to the ongoing war.

In recent weeks tensions have escalated, with Russia mobilizing more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, sparking fears that the country is embroiled in violence, Kharkiv, according to some experts, could happen.

Olga Shapoval is head of the Kharkiv IT Cluster, an NGO located at an elevated point overlooking the city. The NGO has supported the urban technology market since 2015.

“We now call the Kharkiv Silicon Valley in Ukraine”, he said, noting that the companies have doubled in the last seven years.

Shapoval describes the current situation as a threat to him and his family, but says he has not yet reached the “fear of fear”.

Since 2014, he has learned to have a constant threat of attacks, but now with more controversy, he says more and more experts are starting to work on “Plan B”.

Mykola is being filmed in Kharkiv, with city experts saying Russia could invadeMykola Levchencko, a 45-year-old engineer and military officer, trains weekly with the local community in preparation for the defense of his city. [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

The success of the IT industry in the city can be attributed to a number of factors, including history such as engineering, multidisciplinary and research facilities, and the low cost of living, making it an attractive investment for international companies looking for young talent. .

It is also due to the concerted efforts of organizations such as the Kharkiv IT Cluster to rebuild trust in the international companies affected by the 2014 events when the crisis in Eastern Ukraine began.

In the center of Kharkiv there is peace.

Families play on the ice, and students from other countries congregate at the many restaurants in the main queue.

Ice slope in KharkivLife is going well in Kharkiv, as fears continue to rise in the Russian uprising [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

Satyan, 23, and Mukul, 21 students from India, describe their moods as “cool” but aware of the stress.

In the event of a conspiracy, many IT professionals and students from around the world may migrate.

But for locals like Levchencko, this is not the way.

He said: “Our families are very scared. “We don’t have the money to move with our children.”

The survival of the IT sector in the city is also important in this country. Shapoval estimates that about 200,000 local jobs depend on IT companies in Kharkiv and are the main source of tax revenue in Ukraine. Local companies also support a wide range of IT and cybersecurity weapons.

International students are being filmed in KharkivSatyan and Mukul, students from India living in Ukraine, are aware of global tensions but say they are not too worried. [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

According to local sources, militias, an attack that could possibly see Russian troops circling the city at first. This leaves the prospect of a long-term siege, which could threaten many international education, finance, and healthcare companies in Kharkiv.

Levchencko, also a paramilitary officer, trains weekly between 30 and 65 people in preparation for the city’s imminent danger.

Recently, it has seen many IT partners join its ranks. He says it would take him about five minutes to prepare for battle on any working day.

Olga lives in Kharkiv, near the Russian border Olga Shapoval describes the current situation as a threat to her and her family [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button