Kharkiv Mayor Kernes dies from COVID-19 complications
Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, has died in Berlin where he was receiving treatment for COVID-19, his friend Pavlo Fuks, a Ukrainian businessman, announced on the Telegram messenger on Dec. 17.
“Coronavirus caused serious complications to (his) health. Eternal memory to you, my friend,” Fuks wrote on Dec. 17.
Kernes was transported to Berlin’s Charite hospital on Sept. 17. Earlier, Ukrainian media reported that the mayor had tested positive for COVID-19. His representatives initially denied that, but later acknowledged he had recovered from the virus. They said that he would return to Kharkiv before New Year.
Then, on Dec. 11, Kharkiv officials reported that both of Kernes’ kidneys had failed and he was receiving full dialysis in Charite.
Kernes had suffered from health problems since he survived an assassination attempt in April 2014. Since then, he had used a wheelchair for mobility.
Despite being hospitalized in Germany and out of the public eye for over two months, Kernes still managed to win another term as mayor during Ukraine’s local elections on Oct. 25, receiving 60% of the vote in the Kharkiv mayoral race. His party, the Kernes Bloc, also won the city council elections and the oblast council elections.
Kernes had served as mayor of Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million people located 460 kilometers to the east of Kyiv, since 2010.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.