Tattoo marathon raises money for army as Kyiv begins to reawaken

Tattoo marathon raises money for army as Kyiv begins to reawaken

In a fashionably scruffy former factory in central Kyiv, tattoo artists ply their trade to raise money for Ukraine’s armed forces fighting fierce battles in the country’s east. 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 Feb. 24.

The initiative has raised 270,000 UAH ($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.

"We will keep doing this until the end of the war," Filipchenko, who has lived in Kyiv for the past five years, told Reuters. "Maybe we will bring it back for victory day."

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

"Why not try?," 37-year-old Ukrainian-Brazilian tattoo artist Zhylson Buakela said.

"We did it for a week or two and it's already the seventh week now… As long as we can take some capital and give it to the army, I think it's the best you can do," he said.

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.

For some, inspiration came during the most terrifying days of the war.

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