Kharkiv publisher vows to rebuild after Russian attack

STORY: Sergii Polituchyi arrived at his burning printing house in Kharkiv before firefighters.

The destruction caused by the mid-morning Russian missile attack last Thursday (May 23) is seared into the 70-year-old's mind.

People were burnt beyond recognition he says...the smell and the sight is still in my head.

The attack killed seven employees and wounded 16 others.

The works was the biggest printer in Ukraine and a key part of its publishing industry, producing 40% of Ukraine's printing capacity and almost half of its educational textbooks.

“This destruction has wiped out my entire past life. It has rendered all those years of mine and my team's hard work meaningless.”

Polituchyi was born to a Ukrainian family in Russia and lived there for 26 years, but he spoke in Ukrainian.

The printing house stopped publishing books in Russian after 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, even though it meant significant lost revenues.

The missile attack caused $5 million worth of damage but Polituchyi is intent on rebuilding his business, and hopeful of receiving funds from Ukraine's government or foreign donors.

“I see it as my mission to rebuild this enterprise specifically in Kharkiv. Because if we, my colleagues, leave Kharkiv, what will (it) be left with for tomorrow.”

The bombing was one of several deadly strikes by Moscow in recent weeks on Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

Russian forces, who've launched a new offensive north of the city, are now about 12 miles from Kharkiv's ring road.

Moscow says it does not target civilians in what it portrays as a campaign to demilitarize Ukraine.

The Kharkiv regional governor said there were no military facilities anywhere near the printing house.