The country was invaded by Russian forces in February, and it would have been understandable if Avtovin had cancelled its trip to the Netherlands. But the company was determined to come and staff – plus Bitsukova’s two young children – travelled with equipment in a bus and a car, with one trailer.
“We don’t want to stay home – we don’t want to hide,” says executive director Natalia Bitsukova. “We’ve wanted to do this for five years. We want to find new connections. We hope to develop the economy of our company – and our country. It was very difficult, but we managed to get here.”
Avtovin is in the licence plate business: it manufactures blanks, including the frames for them, and is displaying three types of embossing press at Intertraffic.
When Intertraffic is over, the staff will be returning to Ukraine. “We’re going back; we hope to find clients who won’t worry about working with us,” Bitsukova adds. Chernivtsky is 50km from the Romanian border. “For now, it is safe,” she says.