Residents of Ukraine’s bombed capital grabbed empty bottles for water and packed into restaurants for power and heat, turning to extremes to survive after new Russian missiles on Wednesday plunged the city and many neighborhoods into darkness.
In the city of 3 million people, some people began to collect rainwater from pipes, while repair teams tried to reconnect other services.
His friends and relatives sent messages to each other to find out who had restored the electricity and water. Some had one but not the other.
Aerial attacks on Ukraine’s power grid left many without anything.
Oleksiy Rashchupkin, a 39-year-old savings banker, woke up to find that water had been restored to his third bedroom but no electricity. His fridge melted in the dark, leaving mud behind.
So he got into a car and crossed the Dnieper River from the left bank to the right, to a restaurant that he saw had been open after Russia had already been attacked – of course, it was serving hot drinks and food, and there was music and WiFi. on.
“I am here because there is heat, coffee and light,” he said. “This is life.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said about 70 percent of the Ukrainian capital was without power Thursday morning.
As Kyiv and other cities braced themselves, Kherson on Thursday came under the heaviest shelling since Ukrainian forces retook the southern city two weeks ago. Shelling killed four people outside a coffee shop and a woman was killed near her home, witnesses said, speaking to the Associated Press.
In Kyiv, where freezing rain fell on top of the previous snow, the situation was grim but firm. Winter promises to be long. But Ukrainians say if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intention is to crush them, he should reconsider.
“Nobody can ignore their will and principles because of electricity,” said Alina Dubeiko, 34. She, too, sought the comfort of other restaurants, full of people, warm and bright. With no electricity, heating or running water at home, he was determined to continue his work. Accustomed to a dirty lifestyle with all its benefits, Dubeiko said she uses two glasses of water to wash herself, then puts her hair in a ponytail and prepares for her day at work.
He said it would be better for them to be powerless than to have a Russian attack, which is now in its tenth month.
“Without light or you? Without you,” he said, echoing the words of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when Russia on October 10 released the first of what has become a series of airstrikes in Ukraine.
Western leaders condemned the bombing campaign. “Attacks against civilians are war crimes,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov admitted on Thursday that it is targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. But he said that he supports the movement of the Ukrainian military and that the aim was to interfere with the movement of soldiers, weapons and military equipment in Ukraine. Authorities in Kyiv and the entire Kyiv region reported that seven people were killed and many were injured.
The United Nations Ambassador to Russia, Vassily Nebenzia, said: “We are protesting against the infrastructure because of the disarmament of Ukraine and the reckless request of Kyiv to defeat Russia.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also wanted to blame the Ukrainian government for the plight of civilians.
“The leadership of Ukraine has every chance to restore the situation, it has every chance to solve the problem in such a way as to satisfy the demands of the Russian side, thus, to end any suffering of the common people,” said Peskov. .
In Kyiv, people lined up at a water station to fill plastic bottles.
During the new war, strange to her, a 31-year-old health department worker, Kateryna Luchkina, used to collect rainwater from the drainpipe, to wash her hands at work, which had no water.
He filled two plastic bottles, waiting patiently in the rain until he had water in his mouth. His co-worker followed him later, and did the same.
“We Ukrainians are very smart, we will think of something. We don’t give up,” said Luchkina. “We work, we live in survival mode or something, as much as we can. We don’t give up hope that everything will be fine. “
The mayor of the city said on Telegram that the electricity producers are “doing everything they can” to restore electricity. Water treatment groups were making progress, too. In the afternoon, Klitschko announced that water will be restored to the entire capital, with the warning that “some consumers may still have limited water”.
Electricity and water were slowly coming back on. In the southeastern Ukrainian province of Dnipropetrovsk, the governor announced that 3,000 miners who were trapped underground due to a power outage have been rescued. District officials sent messages on social media updating people on their plans and saying they needed time.
Remembering the difficulties – now and in the future, as the winter goes on – the authorities are opening thousands of so-called “invincible points” – places heated by electricity that provide hot food, electricity and internet. More than 3,700 have been opened nationwide since Thursday morning, said the head of the President’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
In Kherson, hospitals without power and water are also dealing with the dangers posed by the escalation of the Russian conflict. They hit residential and commercial buildings on Thursday, setting them on fire, sending ash into the sky and shattering glass on the streets. Medical personnel treated the injured.
Olena Zhura was carrying bread to her neighbors when the strike that destroyed half of her house injured her husband, Victor. He winced in pain as the paramedics took him away.
“I was shocked,” she said, breaking into tears. “Then I heard [him] they cry out: ‘Save me, save me.'”