Kyiv was shrouded in thick fog on Thursday. In the morning, the only sources of light were car headlights and headlamps for passers-by. International journalists reported that they had never seen the city of three million so dark. After devastating attacks by Russia, electricity and water are in short supply in many places. And now winter has come, there is snow in Ukraine and sub-zero temperatures.
Many people spend most of their time at their place of work because, unlike in their private homes, they are heated. Emergency generators are used everywhere, in Kyiv the cell phone network occasionally did not work, and access to the Internet was often not possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of a humanitarian catastrophe because hospitals are without electricity. Operations must be performed by flashlights. Thousands of people were without drinking water.
solidarity and donations
The Ukrainian government is doing what it can to alleviate the fate of those affected. 4,000 warming rooms are to be set up for the population. These will be in administration buildings or schools, where people can warm up, drink tea, charge phones and get advice, they say. “I am sure that we will get through this winter together if we help each other,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Companies are also asked to make rooms available as warming rooms.
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko calls for solidarity and donations. Mobile power generators are urgently needed. Many residents in the capital have now started depositing boxes of groceries, flashlights and power banks in high-rise elevators in case they get trapped in the elevator during a power outage. Most have an app on their cell phone that shows when air alerts begin and end. There are also now hand-operated sirens to warn people.
Yesterday, Thursday, electricity and water supplies in Kyiv could only be partially restored. “70 percent of the capital has so far been without electricity,” said Mayor Vitali Klitschko. At least it was possible to supply the districts on the left bank of the Dnipro with water again. Municipal services are working flat out to repair the damage, but Kiev’s electricity supply also depends on the stability of the entire energy system in Ukraine.
The Russian attacks on the critical infrastructure are “crimes against humanity,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the UN. He spoke of “energy terror”.
The US has already promised to support Ukraine with power generators. The necessary diesel for it is – still – in the country. International aid organizations are also supplying generators.
Nuclear power plants are supplying electricity again
French President Emmanuel Macron also described the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s electricity and water supplies as war crimes that should have consequences. The US responded in the same way.
Three Ukrainian nuclear power plants that were disconnected from the grid after Russian rocket attacks reconnected to the grid on Thursday. The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy announced via Telegram that it was possible to reconnect the systems in the morning. According to the plan, the nuclear power plants should supply electricity again in the hours that follow. “The occupiers are doing everything to make people suffer, so that we don’t even feel or see each other,” concluded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Dark and cold months are ahead for Ukraine.