Friends and family members exchanged messages to find out who had their electricity and water back. Some had one, others didn’t. An airstrike on Ukraine’s power grid the previous day provided many with neither.
By a small miracle in Kiev, both quickly became an oasis of comfort.
Oleksiy Rashchupkin, a 39-year-old investment banker, woke up to find that the water had been reconnected to his third-floor apartment, but there was no electricity. Her freezer melted in the dark, leaving a puddle on the floor.
So he got into a taxi and crossed the Dnieper River from the left bank to the right to a cafe he noticed remained open after the former Russian strikes. Of course, he served hot drinks, hot food, music and Wi-Fi on.
“I’m here because there’s heat, coffee and light,” he said. “That’s life.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that on Thursday morning, about 70% of the Ukrainian capital was still without electricity.
Kherson came under the heaviest shelling on Thursday since Ukrainian forces retook the southern city two weeks ago, as Kyiv and other cities rose to the occasion. According to the information given by the witnesses to the Associated Press reporter, the shelling caused the death of 4 people in front of the cafe, and the death of a woman near her house.
With cold rain falling on the remnants of previous snows, the mood in Kiev was grim but steely. Winter promises to be long. But Ukrainians say that if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intention is to break them, he should think again.
“Nobody will compromise their will and principles just for electricity,” said 34-year-old Alina Dubeiko. With no electricity, heat or water at home, he was determined to continue his routine. Adapting to a life deprived of her usual comforts, Dubeiko said she uses two glasses of water to wash, then puts her hair in a ponytail and is ready for the day.
He said on Thursday that he would rather be powerless than live with a Russian occupation that passed the nine-month mark.
“Lightless or you? He repeated President Volodymyr Zelensky’s words on October 10, when Russia carried out the first of a series of airstrikes against key infrastructure facilities in Ukraine.
Western leaders condemned the bombing campaign. French President Emmanuel Macron said on his Twitter page that “attacks on civilian infrastructure are a war crime.”
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov admitted on Thursday that Ukraine had targeted energy facilities. But he said they were linked to Ukraine’s military command and control system and that the aim was to disrupt the flow of Ukrainian troops, weapons and ammunition to the front lines. Authorities in Kyiv and the wider Kyiv region said a total of seven people were killed and dozens injured.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasiliy Nebenzia, said: “We are striking infrastructure in response to the unrestrained flow of arms into Ukraine and reckless calls from Kiev to defeat Russia.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also tried to blame the Ukrainian government for the civil unrest.
“The leadership of Ukraine has every opportunity to normalize the situation, to resolve the situation in a way that meets the demands of the Russian side and, accordingly, to end all possible suffering of the civilian population,” Peskov said. .
In Kyiv, people lined up at public water stations to fill plastic bottles. In a strange new wartime for her, 31-year-old Katerina Luchkina, an employee of the Department of Health, resorted to collecting rainwater from a drainpipe so that she could at least wash her hands at her workplace. He filled two plastic bottles and waited patiently in the rain until the water was up to the brim. A colleague followed him and did the same.
“We Ukrainians are so capable that we will think of something. We do not lose our spirit,” Luchkina said. “We work, we live as much as possible in the rhythm of survival or something. We do not lose hope that everything will be fine.”
The mayor of the city said on Telegram that energy workers are “doing everything they can” to restore electricity. Water maintenance crews were also advancing. In the afternoon, Klitschko announced the restoration of water supply in the capital, warning that “some consumers may still experience low water pressure”.
Electricity, heat and water were gradually restored elsewhere. The governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region in southeastern Ukraine announced that 3,000 miners who were trapped underground due to a power outage had been rescued. Regional authorities have posted messages on social media informing people about the progress of repairs, but also saying they need time.
Given the challenges both now and ahead, as winter progresses, authorities are opening thousands of so-called “invincibility hotspots” – heated and powered places that offer hot meals, electricity and internet connection. As of Thursday morning, more than 3,700 were open across the country, said Kirill Tymoshenko, a senior official in the presidential office.
Hospitals in Kherson without electricity or water are also struggling with the dire consequences of the escalation of Russian strikes. On Thursday, they hit residential and commercial buildings, setting some on fire, blowing ash into the sky and breaking glass in the streets. Emergency medical personnel helped the injured.
Olena Zhura injured her husband Victor, who destroyed half of his house while taking bread to neighbors. He writhed in pain as paramedics carried him away.
“I was shocked,” she said through tears. “Then I heard him say, ‘Save me, save me.’
Mednik reported from Kherson, Ukraine.
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