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Melnyk, confident billionaire with Ukrainian roots, takes on Putin

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June 7, 2014, 6:32 a.m. | Ukraine — by Mark Rachkevych

Eugene Melnyk gives Ottawa Senators clothing to orphans he supports at a camp in Vorokhta in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. The gifts are organized by Help Us Help the Children, a charity established in Canada. One of four children born to Ukrainian parents from Chernivtsi Oblast, Melnyk tries to visit Ukraine annually at least and calls it “a beautiful country, with Kyiv at the cusp of being a world-class city.” Ironically, Melnyk’s maternal grandfather was the president of an industrial soccer league in Toronto when he was growing up. He thinks Ukraine’s biggest mistake was to give up its nuclear arsenal in 1994. If Ukraine still had the weapons, said Melnyk, “nobody would invade it right now. I would know where to point them.”
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Mark Rachkevych

Mark has been a reporter for the Kyiv Post since 2006, but joined full-time in 2009. A native Chicagoan where he was the co-founder of the now defunct Glasshouse Magazine, Mark currently is an editor of business news and still contributes stories on an ongoing basis. He is a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, a graduate of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, and fluent in the Ukrainian and Russian languages.

Eugene Melnyk, the billionaire owner of the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey team, wants to hit Russia, the 2018 World Cup host, and FIFA, the tournament’s administering organization, where it hurts: in their pocketbooks.

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