Melitopol Territorial Community
The Melitopol Territorial Community is located in the territory of the Melitopol District of the Zaporizhzhia Region.
The total area of the territory is 49.66 km2.
The population of the community amounts to 148,851 residents.
Women: 80,975 residents.
Men: 67,876 residents.
The administrative centre of the community is the town of Melitopol, whose official foundation dates back to 1874. The town lay at the crossroads of trade routes to the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. And the availability of fertile lands and meadows, the full waters of the Molochna River gradually turned Melitopol into an agricultural and industrial centre of the southern steppe. The history of the town was embodied in historical and architectural landmarks of various eras that have survived to this day.
Among the favourite recreation places of the townspeople and guests of the town is one of the largest forests in the steppe zone of Ukraine – the Staroberdianske Forestry and Park of Culture and Recreation. A few years before the full-scale invasion, the park was reconstructed, new recreation areas and modern architectural landmarks appeared there.
The most famous natural landmark in the vicinity of Melitopol is the Stone Grave. This is a massif of sandstone on the banks of the Molochna River, which served ancient people as a sanctuary and has unique petroglyphs.
The Ukrainian national charm of the Melitopol area is the Sea of Azov, one of the Mediterranean seas of the Atlantic Ocean connected to the Black Sea, as well as the Molochny Liman hydrological reserve.
Economy and Welfare
Melitopol has a strong industrial background and is located in the heart of an agricultural region. Thanks to these factors, the town has the potential to develop its industry, agriculture, green energy, education and tourism.
The business card of the Melitopol Community is a cherry. Before the full-scale invasion, of the 80,000 tons of cherries produced annually in Ukraine, about a quarter came from Melitopol. Therefore, not a single plot of land can do without this culture.
One of the scientific and industrial centres of the region is located there. Thanks to the historical heritage, the economic and geographical location and the entrepreneurship of the residents, the following industries are developed in the town: mechanical engineering, light industry and food industry.
Melitopol Oil Extraction Plant LLC is one of the oldest enterprises in the town, which produced up to 550 tons of crude and refined sunflower oil of the first and highest grade per day. The products were supplied to the markets of the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Far East.
Melitopol-based TARA plant produced about a million clutch discs and spare parts for agricultural machinery every year before the large-scale war. And its products were exported to European countries, countries of Africa and Southeast Asia.
During 2016-2021, a number of important infrastructure projects were implemented in the town. A water sports complex accredited according to the standards of the International Swimming Federation FINA was built. National and international competitions could be held there. Before the occupation of the town, citizens could practice water sports because the complex was open to everyone.
A health centre with an ice arena opened in Melitopol a few months before the full-scale invasion. It was built there not only for training sessions, sports matches and performances, but also as a single rink for the town’s residents.
Schools, kindergartens, a music school, children’s and youth sports schools were overhauled in the town. The Infectious Diseases Hospital and the Maternity Hospital were comprehensively renovated. Most of these facilities, equipped with the latest technology and medical equipment, have been looted by russian troops.
Community and War
The war in Melitopol began back in 2014. Then the leadership team of the town managed to prevent a political coup initiated by russia after the seizure of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea. Back then the Melitopol Community won choosing the European path of development.
The town received the first refugees from the occupied territories. Even before the full-scale invasion, dormitories and apartments for internally displaced persons were built and equipped there and humanitarian aid was provided to the affected Ukrainians.
On the first day of the full-scale invasion, shelling of the town began at 4 am. And the very next day, on 25 February 2022, russian troops entered the town and Melitopol was occupied. The town has been under occupation for a year and a half, but thanks to the resilience of its residents, it remains Ukrainian.
The invaders commit terror against the civilian population. But the invincible residents have been resisting the enemy from the first days and until now.
More than 90,000 people left the occupied town under shelling to the territory controlled by Ukraine or abroad. In the first months of the large-scale war, the local authorities organized humanitarian corridors, but the invaders never kept their word. The 120 km long road through enemy checkpoints to the free territory of Ukraine took several days. People drove through mined fields in buses and trucks to save their lives.
The residents who still stay in the town refuse to cooperate with the invaders. Melitopol has become a place where the enemy faces armed resistance from the local partisans every day.
The leadership team of the town moved to the front-line city of Zaporizhzhia and continues to work for the benefit of Melitopol residents. Over the past year and a half, the Melitopol team has opened three humanitarian aid centres for displaced persons from the Melitopol Community “SAME TUT Open Aid Space” in Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv and Lviv. An aid centre is about to open in Dnipro.
During this time, more than 20,000 people have registered in the centres. The space team are volunteers from the Melitopol Community who left the occupied territory and make every effort to ensure the needs of visitors in receiving humanitarian, medical, psychological, and legal aid and assistance, as well as getting financial aid from international donors. Each of the three centres is a centre of their native Melitopol, where Melitopol residents unite to solve problems and cherish the traditions of their native region, hold sports competitions and holidays, and together prepare for returning home.
Before the large-scale war, the military transport aviation brigade worked in the town. In addition to professional soldiers, many townspeople volunteered to go to the front to defend their homeland against the enemy. Therefore, special attention is paid there in the organization of assistance to the military not only along the entire line, but also to the compatriots.
As part of the defence capability program for 2023, the town budget is used to purchase overalls, equipment and machinery needed by the military.
People of the Community
Ivan Fedorov is the Mayor of Melitopol. He is a reliable partner who, with the support of international organizations, has implemented ambitious projects for a total amount of more than 37 million dollars. And two years before the full-scale invasion Melitopol became the centre of infrastructure development in the south of Ukraine under the leadership of Ivan Fedorov.
The town mayor continued to run the town even after its occupation. But on 11 March 2022, Ivan Fedorov was kidnapped by the russian military for refusing to cooperate with the invaders. The next day, about two thousand residents of the town protested and demanded the release of the mayor. After six days of captivity, he was exchanged for nine captured russian conscripts.
After his release, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, awarded Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov with the III degree Order “For Courage”.
The Melitopol team led by the mayor is in touch with the residents of Melitopol on a daily basis, and is already preparing for de-occupation so that as soon as the Armed Forces liberate Melitopol, they can return home and rebuild the town.
In 2009, Melitopol was the first town to represent Ukraine in the Council of Europe under the “Intercultural Cities” program.
Melitopol is considered to be the cherry capital of Ukraine. Therefore, every year during the ripening period of cherries, the ChereshnEvo festival was held there. More than 7,000 residents of Melitopol and guests from the southwestern region of Ukraine took part in the Chereshestvie traditional art walk along the central avenue of the town in cherry-coloured clothes and cherry costumes.
The Belief. Hope. Love youth festival of national cultures is another important event that took place annually on the eve of Town Day. The holiday united the national communities from all over Ukraine into a single family, and every time demonstrated the beauty and greatness of each people.
Every year, the hospitable land of Tavria hosted more than thirty best teams, and the guests attending the event got to know the authentic cultural traditions of the peoples.
In 2019, the Melitopol Town Development Strategy until 2030 was adopted. According to the strategy, three main strategic areas of development were defined:
– a town of developed businesses with attractive conditions for investment;
– a town of resource-efficient and eco-safe infrastructure;
– a town of effective governance and modern public services.
Also, the Melitopol District Development Strategy was drafted, but it was not approved due to the outbreak of a large-scale war. The main priorities of the community development are economic growth, products, tourism, security, education and image.
After the full-scale invasion, the development strategies of the town of Melitopol and the Melitopol District need to be revised. Several new areas have now been developed:
- Formation of partnerships between the communities of Europe and the communities of the Azov region. Development of the Azov Regional Recovery Strategy and industry documents with the involvement of foreign experts and the Green Economy and Energy Development Strategy of Melitopol / the Azov Region.
- Development of two industrial parks, creation of the Melitopol Exhibition and Innovation Centre and the Logistics Hub.
- Creation of an agro-logistics centre as a basic HUB of agricultural products of Southern Ukraine.
- Modernization of the machine-building sector. Production of equipment for green energy development. Development of railway transport repair facilities. Creation of production facilities to work for the military industry.
- Creation of enterprises that would produce modern construction and heat-insulating materials, enterprises for the processing of construction waste.
The town is open to international partnerships. Melitopol’s sister cities include Gori (Georgia), Brive-la-Gaillarde (France), Sliven (Bulgaria), Hoboken (USA).
Agreements are being prepared to be signed with the sister cities of Seinäjoki, the province of Southern Pohjanmaa (Finland), the city of Ekero (Sweden) and Reggio nell’Emilia (Italy).