Kyiv should really remain a city-park, - mayor

Author : News Agency

Respondent : Vitaliy Klitschko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Mayor Klitschko on the situation with Covid-19, construction, city infrastructure, e-learning, and local elections
13:00, 19 August 2020

Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko

Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor. We are very happy to see you here, although in an online mode.

- Here we are setting an example; unfortunately, we see the current situation in Kyiv. The incidence reached 200 cases per day (for the second day in a row), and our common goal is to prevent a return to severe restrictions.

Related: Kyiv and 10 other regions are not ready to weaken quarantine

All politicians use to come to our studio, you are the only one who observes this format of online communication. On the weekend, a minimum number of people fell ill in Kyiv, while on the second day - a record take-off was observed. How would you explain this?

On weekends people use to call doctors less frequently, and the beginning of the week shows the real picture. The average cut in the number of cases continues to break negative records.

What would happen at the beginning of autumn?

We are preparing for different scenarios. On September 1, all children will go to school, but these would be completely different conditions: compulsory temperature screening, passing tests if the child is sick. If the classrooms are overcrowded, then we will divide them into two subgroups so that there is a distance between the children. Maybe we will switch to two training shifts. And the most extreme case - if there are outbreaks of disease in a particular school, we will consider distance learning.

Related: Beds occupancy for patients with Covid-19 exceeds 50% in Kyiv, - Ministry of Health

Does Kyiv have a single distance learning program for all educational institutions?

We do not want all schools to have the same rules. If there is an outbreak at some school, only this school will switch to a special form of learning. Either the entire school or partially transfer to distance learning - we rely on the fact that school principals and parents will make a decision. This is our shared responsibility.

We can see spontaneous rebellions against lockdown all over the world. Have you considered such an option that suddenly people will start protesting against this form?

It is very good that people have an instinct for self-preservation. But many people are faced with the question – to die of the virus, or to die of hunger. Therefore, we made mitigations, but we demand that key rules be followed so that a large outbreak does not occur when the death rate can reach 10%, as it happened in Italy. Football in front of empty stands is a new reality in which we live. The new conditions are to maintain social distance, wear a mask. Unfortunately, not only the number of patients is increasing in our country, but also the number of people in hospitals – the infectious diseases departments of Kyiv hospitals are already filled by 50%.

Related: Against masks and lockdowns: Wave of anti-coronavirus protests swept the world

Mr. Vitaly, this interview might not have happened, because I have stuck in a terrible traffic jam. You have people, departments that deal with traffic jams in Kyiv. For instance, big cities like Berlin and New York do know what a traffic jam is, but they solve any situation by the European protocol and have a move on their roads. But Kyiv is full of bunching.

You can ask these questions to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Avakov, because it depends on how quickly the police arrive and how much they control traffic. I am convinced that there should be municipal police, like in Berlin, like in New York. And we are working on it. And as long as the police are subordinate to the ministry, this is a matter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. My job as a mayor is to repair roads and build infrastructure. I cannot be held responsible for things that are out of my responsibility.

Open source

Winter is ahead. Is Kyiv ready for winter?

Several years ago we took pipes and communication systems from the Kyivenergo company to our heat and power complex and created the municipal company Kyivteploenergo. Kyivenergo laid down 30 km of pipes in 2008. Last year we put 130 km, this year – more than 100 km. These are new pipes, thermal insulation. Old iron pipes are very insecure. They lose both water and heat, geysers constantly explode.

Related: Kyiv in yellow zone: Mayor Klitschko announces enhancing of quarantine measures

These pipes were laid back in the 50s of the last century.

Yes. For many years this issue was ignored. If an accident occurred, the services repaired one small section of the pipeline. We are now working systematically, and last year heat losses and accidents decreased by 10%. And this year it will be the same: we will reduce the accident rate, move much more pipes, prepare for winter. Winter will show, but we prepare intensively in the summer. I would like to apologize - this is not my fault, it so happened that the hottest water supply complex in Europe is centralized. And there is no hot water in many houses because we are repairing the pipelines, which were inherited from the Soviet system.

Some people say that Klitschko stole land from Kyiv and sold it to the developers. Let's talk about your General Plan, and a precedent for the Protasiv Yar (this is about the construction on Protasiv Yar in Kyiv. In 2007, the city council allocated a plot of land (3.15 ha) to a firm for development. However, the preparation of documents proving the right to land use was done by the land department of the Kyiv city administration. Thus, the city council makes the decisions, and the city administration performs them).

There the land was allocated back in 2002-2003.

Related: New decommunization wave: What to happen to Motherland monument, Paton Bridge, Shchors monument in Kyiv?

But you have actually returned this land back to the Kyiv community. Are you ready for the fact that you will be sued in European courts?

We demolished the fence on Malyshko street, where we wanted to build up the green zone. When I worked as a guide, I told with great pleasure that Kyiv is the greenest city in the world. And we need to make sure that our city really remains a city-park. Our task is to keep green areas. Protasiv Yar, oh… I’ve spent a lot of time there as a child. Despite the mistakes of past years, when this land was sold, we must correct these mistakes in order for Kyiv to remain a comfortable city for every inhabitant. We were supposed to present the master plan with public hearings in the summer. The coronavirus has made its own adjustments, but we are ready.

There are many buildings in Kyiv now, about which people say that they are especially burned out from the inside, so further they would fall apart and be sold. And the government turns a blind eye to this.

We are restoring all the downtown historical buildings that are on the balance sheet of the city. And those buildings that are in poor condition are in private hands. The owners of such buildings very often deliberately do not invest money, because they see no value in the very building, but rather in the site – so a fire breaks out and the building collapses, because the historical monument cannot be touched. However, we do not have the opportunity to take the historic building into the communal property or force the owner to restore it. We need leverage. We have a bill in the Verkhovna Rada. Our MPs should pay attention to it. I turned to the Kyiv MPs who represent our city in the Verkhovna Rada - we urgently need to do this. In order to press on owners who have only money in their minds, we do not have a legal tool for this. The city should have the right to redeem such a building at its residual value, or somehow force it to do so. Now we are trying to get the Sikorsky estate back to the city, the Ministry of Defense. It has been crumbling for many years, and the world's first vertical takeoff helicopter took off in the courtyard of this building. We named the Zhulyany airport after Sikorsky, and we are not allowed to save the estate, where the museum of an outstanding aircraft designer should have been made, because this estate is on the balance sheet of someone. And there are a lot of such cases.

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It is believed that Kyiv would just suffocate without a big ring road. Do you plan to build it?

40% of transport in Kyiv is transit transport. The next bridge over Dnipro is 200 km from here. It is in disrepair, and it is very narrow. Therefore, to move from east to west and vice versa, you need to go through Kyiv. We see how many trucks are moving along the Kyiv territorial road. We really need a large bypass road, because it would reduce the environmental and transport load. We have many plans, and in order to start construction, we need large enough financial resources. As for the Zhytomyr and Odesa highways, we already have a preliminary plan, we only need money. Kyiv is the beneficiary of this project, but it would be quite difficult to build this road without government assistance. The construction of the entire ring road with a bridge could cost up to $ 10 billion. If you build a modern road, you need at least three to four lanes in each direction. And we need to build another bridge across the Dnipro river – here I rely on the figures that were voiced by foreign experts in the field of transport.

Related: Ukrainian presenter and showman Serhiy Prytula officially running for Kyiv Mayor

Mr. Mayor, when you see protesters near City Hall, does it hurt your feelings?

On the eve of the elections, there will be many protesters’ tents, many accusations, and slogans. What distinguishes me from other politicians is that I can walk the streets of Kyiv, communicate with people. When people come to the mayor's office or to me, I always meet with them and try to solve the problem. But, unfortunately, there are rallies that are held deliberately on the eve of the elections. Bank "Arkada" has built houses near the VDNKh district of Kyiv and cannot put them into operation. They have collected money, but they sold square meters just on paper. And people come to us with complaints. They want the city to complete their housing. Besides, there are many more things there, and I am convinced that this is politically biased. There are many problems, but we will solve them. The city changes constantly. We have opened a zoo, we will open a large parking lot for 500 cars, we have opened the Partisan Glory park, and we are opening the next phase of the park in Troyeshchyna. The work is going on, and every day my task is to open new objects and change Kyiv. Khreshchatyk, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Europeiska Ploshcha, where we plan to park for several thousand cars, we plan to start reconstruction next year. But we face a big challenge - elections. There will be a lot of dirt, accusations, manipulations. When the glass bridge was opened, I said that we would transfer the money to contractors after the Forensic Science Institute checked everything. And when they say that everything is fine, only after that we will transfer the money. They immediately began to tell me that the money had been stolen. But how can you steal them if they are on the accounts of the city hall? If you have some evidence, go to the police. We have zero-tolerance for corruption and we do everything transparently so that everyone understands everything. Therefore, Ukraine has introduced ProZorro system, its operating began in Kyiv. I am convinced that if we fight... And I know this better than others - there is no victory without a fight. Therefore, I continue to fight for the city with which I associate my future.

If on the day of the final counting of votes you find out that you are not the mayor of Kyiv, what will you tell your family?

As an experienced person... In sports, if you go into the ring with the thought that you will not win, then you will never win. Therefore, I will do everything possible to change the city of Kyiv. I'm not in for offices or positions, there are other things I could be doing. But I want to live in a modern European city. You want the job done well, you do it yourself. This is the key motivation for my tenure in this office.

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