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News from Kyiv

Let the Nightingales sing over Ukraine again soon. Slava Ukraini / Heroyam Slava. Our distribution partners in Kyiv, The Wine Bureau, are in the thick of it and have been writing regular updates which we publish from time to time. Some may find these upsetting.


7 June 2023 – Ukraine, day 469 - Kakhovka Reservoir

Dear Friends and Partners,

Today our grief and anger are rapidly spreading, much like the raging waters of the Kakhovka Reservoir. The consequences of this catastrophe are unimaginable.

On 6 June 2023, around 2.30 am, Russians detonated the dam of the Kakhovka Reservoir, located in the territory under their occupation. This act of terrorism created a deadly danger for people in the populated areas on both banks of the Dnipro River below. It is an undeniable act of ecocide and a brutal war crime, the impact of which extends far beyond Ukraine and affects the ecosystem of the entire Black Sea region.

The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station, with a height of 30 metres and a length of 3.2 km, and a water volume of 18 million cubic metres, was built in 1956 to generate electricity and provide water supply to the southern part of Ukraine. Over 12,000 people during 5 years worked on its construction. Now, the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station cannot be repaired.

Before destroying the controlled power station, the Russians raised the water level to a record-breaking 17.5 metres and left the gates closed. In other words, they deliberately aimed to inflict maximum damage by flooding a vast area. The wave height reaches 4.8 metres, the width of the flood is 5 km, the wave speed is 24.4 km/h, and the duration of continuous water level increase is 3 days.

For now:

  • Hundreds of thousands of people are affected. Approximately 16,000 people on the right bank of the Kherson region are in a critical zone.
  • Rivers are overflowing. More than 80 settlements are under the threat of flooding. Kherson has already been flooded, and nine settlements are partially or completely submerged. In some places, the water level has reached the height of single-story buildings. Nature reserves are flooded. Water has become a deadly trap.
  • 1,500 people have already been evacuated. Meanwhile, the shelling of territories from which evacuation is being conducted continues.
  • Flooding of energy facilities in the Kherson region, including the possible flooding of the Kherson Thermal Power Plant.
  • A blow to global food security. The disaster will affect the irrigation system in southern Ukraine.
  • Over 160 tons of machine oil have leaked into the Dnipro River.
  • Water supply is disrupted in some southern regions.
  • Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is facing a problem with a sufficient water level for cooling.
  • Sharp desalination and pollution of a part of the Black Sea waters. Mass destruction of flora and fauna.
  • The ecological threat extends not only to Ukraine but also to Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and even Russia itself.
  • Complete flooding of the Kinburn Spit, a land bridge beyond the Delta of the Dnieper River.
  • Upstream of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station, in Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia, the water level has already dropped by 9 metres.

It’s not just an act of terror or a disaster, it’s countless lives lost and devastated. Now, on a vast territory, things will never be the same as before. In every sense.

Our history has witnessed much sorrow. And history repeats itself. In 1941, the Soviet Army blew up the Dnipro Hydroelectric Station while retreating from the Germans, causing 20,000–80,000 deaths. Civilians were not warned about the explosion. And here we are again. This is Russia’s attitude towards people. Towards their own people as well. Towards nature. Towards the future.

Yet in Ukraine we will rebuild, again. And life will prevail once more.

Always yours,

Wine Bureau Team

PS The Geneva Convention, Article 56 of Additional Protocol I of 1977 states: Works and installations containing dangerous forces, such as dams, dykes, and nuclear power stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even if these objects are military objectives, if such an attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and, as a result, serious losses among the civilian population. Other military objectives located at or in the vicinity of these works or installations shall not be made the object of attack if such an attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from these works or installations and, as a result, serious losses among the civilian population.

But Russians do not care, any rules (either signed, or moral) are ignored as usual.

24th August 2022. Independence Day, Ukraine


“Dear Friends and Partners,

Today is the Independence Day of Ukraine. But we do not have the privilege of having national holidays and celebrations now. Exactly six months ago, on 24 February, early in the morning, we were attacked. We, our people, our country, our land are going through an existential war.

Independence Day is always a special day. We have been seeking our independence for too long and now we have to defend it and regain it. For us now it has a new meaning, new understanding and new value. Priceless. We deserve it, we earned it. The New Ukraine is born. The one we cannot lose.

During the entire history of Ukraine, our terroristic neighbour has been trying to prove the non-existence of Ukrainian nationality by various means: from forbidding people to speak Ukrainian to deportation from our own land and massacres; denying our history, erasing the witness of their misery. Finally, in 2022, the imperialist idea has come to its peak, leading to catastrophic results which you all are aware of.

No one could believe the war might last for six months in the middle of Europe in the 21st century. No one expected the Ukrainians to fight back that fiercely and resist. No one could forecast such a long and cruel battle. No one could think of such inhuman behaviour from so-called ‘brotherly’ people.

The true face is finally revealed. Not the face of only one man, but the face and beliefs of all its people. Unfortunately, domineering ideas are deeply rooted in the minds of Russians, just as feelings of inferiority used to be nurtured in Ukrainian minds by propaganda. However, their desire and route to conquer the world finally woke us up and united Ukraine and the hearts and minds of the entire world devoted to liberty, evolution, dignity, justice and humanity. This war brought an incarnation of the Ukrainian nation, by making us proud of who we are and showing everyone who, how and why Ukraine stands.

They wanted to march in a conquering parade on the central street of Kyiv within 72 hours. They have it – the destroyed machinery of the world’s second-biggest army is now exhibited on the main street of our beloved capital.

We want peace on our Ukrainian lands – from Donbas to Zakarpattia, from Chernihiv to the Sevastopil; we want our country be developed and prosperous in each of its corners; we want to be free Ukrainians and together with the democratic world who supported us celebrate our Victory and Independence Days.

Today it is a symbolic point. We’ve been waiting for this day breathlessly. There is a danger of the most severe air strikes on the cities exactly today. Thus it is forbidden to gather for any celebrations. We can’t be physically united to stand for Ukraine, but our hearts are full of glory.

Glory to Ukraine!

Sending you our spirit of independent Ukraine,

Always yours,

Wine Bureau Team”

27 July 2022, Kyiv


“Dear Partners and Friends,

It has been a long time since our last update and we hope you will excuse us for this. We are always here, simply because it takes all of us to be in the new flow.

New circumstances, new conditions, new rules and new measures. And we face this new reality with new ideas, new routes, new systems, new approaches, new us. New and still the same. We have not lost ourselves, we still keep our values, goals, passion and dreams.

We are moving on, appreciating each day, any step and result.

With warmest regards from our home,

Wine Bureau Team”


Our thoughts are with our friends in Ukraine

Slava Ukraini

1 July 2022 – Ukraine, fifth month

One particular retailer, home of wonderful wine and food, enjoys stocking and selling Stokes products from their stores and stylish outlet in Kyiv.

This is an extract from a letter to Jancis Robinson from our lovely retailers ‘The Wine Bureau’ in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Their story is one of resilience in the face of the atrocities being faced daily.

“Dear Friends and Partners,

In the news from Ukraine you all see the most devastated pictures, the continuing atrocities and massive destruction. But what is not properly shown is how common Ukrainians continue their lives by making businesses work, by creating an old atmosphere where it is possible, by making the economy work and bringing back normality.

So today we would like to show you how Wine Bureau lives now, what is still important to us and what the reality is now in Kyiv.

Please, watch the video specially created for you, our dearest friends and simply fantastic people. So follow the LINK.

Thank you for helping us to restart our business. We are one step closer to our victory, one step towards the remarkable future of an independent and picturesque Ukraine.

With warmest regards from our home,

Wine Bureau Team”


Our thoughts are with our friends in Ukraine

Slava Ukraini