KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Residents of Ukraine’s bombed capital clutched empty bottles in search of water and crowded cafes for electricity and heat Thursday, a day after fresh Russian missile strikes hit the city and much of the country. The part switched to survival mode after drowning. in the dark.
In scenes hard to believe in the sophisticated city of 3 million, some Kyiv residents resorted to collecting rainwater from drain pipes, as repair teams toiled to reconnect supplies.
Friends and family exchanged messages to find out who had electricity and water. Some had one but not the other. Last day’s airstrike on Ukraine’s power grid did not spare many.
The cafe in Kyiv that, by some small miracle, had quickly become an oasis of calm on Thursday.
Investment banker Oleksii Rashchipkin, 39, woke up to find the water had been reconnected to his third-floor flat but no electricity. Her freezer melted in the blackout, leaving a crater on her floor.
So he got into a taxi and crossed the Dnieper River from the left bank to the right to a cafe he had seen open after the Russian invasion. Sure enough, it was serving hot drinks, hot food and had music and Wi-Fi on.
“I am here because there is heat, coffee and light,” he said. “Here is life.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko About 70 percent of the Ukrainian capital was without electricity on Thursday morning, he said.
As Kyiv and other cities braced themselves, Kherson on Thursday came under its heaviest shelling since Ukrainian forces retook the southern city two weeks ago. A barrage of missiles killed four people outside a coffee shop and a woman near her home, witnesses told Associated Press reporters.
In Kyiv, where a wintry rain fell on the remnants of previous snowfalls, the mood was grim but sticky. Winter promises to be a long one. But Ukrainians say that if Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to break them up, he should think again.
“No one will compromise their will and principles just for electricity,” said 34-year-old Alena Dubiko. She also sought the comfort of another, equally crowded, warm and bright cafe. With no electricity, heating or running water at home, she was determined to continue her work routine. Adapting to a life devoid of her usual luxuries, Dubiko said she uses two glasses of water to wash up, then puts her hair in a ponytail and gets ready for her work day.
She said she would rather be without power than live with the Russian invasion, which passed the nine-month mark on Thursday.
“Without the light or you? Without you,” he said, echoing comments made by President Volodymyr Zelensky when Russia launched the first of what has now become a series of airstrikes on key Ukrainian infrastructure on Oct. 10.
Western leaders condemned the bombing campaign. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that attacks against civilian infrastructure are war crimes.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov admitted on Thursday that it had targeted Ukrainian energy facilities. But they said they were linked to Ukraine’s military command and control system and were meant to deliver Ukrainian troops, weapons and ammunition to the front lines. Authorities in Kiev and the wider Kyiv region reported a total of seven people dead and dozens injured.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said: “We are launching attacks against infrastructure in response to the unrelenting flow of arms to Ukraine and to Kyiv’s reckless appeals to defeat Russia.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also tried to blame the Ukrainian government for the citizens’ plight.
“The leadership of Ukraine has every chance to normalize the situation, it has every chance to resolve the situation in such a way as to meet the demands of the Russian side and, accordingly, the civilian population,” Peskov said. All possible sufferings of .
In Kyiv, people line up at public water points to fill plastic bottles. In a strange battle for this, 31-year-old health department employee Katerina Luchkina first resorted to collecting rainwater from a drain pipe, so that she could at least wash her hands at work, which contained water. was not. She filled two plastic bottles, patiently waited in the rain until the water came up to the brim. A colleague behind him was doing the same.
“We Ukrainians are very resourceful, we will think of something. We do not lose our spirit,” Luchkina said. “We work, live in the rhythm of survival or something else, as much as possible. We don’t lose hope that everything will be okay.”
The city mayor said on Telegram that power engineers were “doing their best” to restore power. Water repair teams were also making progress. In the early afternoon, Klitschko announced that water supplies had been restored to the capital, warning that “some customers may still experience low water pressure.”
Electricity, heat and water were slowly returning to other places as well. In Ukraine’s southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, the governor announced that 3,000 miners trapped underground due to a power outage had been rescued. Regional officials posted messages on social media updating people on the progress of repairs but also said they needed time.
Mindful of the challenges — both now and ahead, as winter progresses — officials are opening thousands of so-called “invulnerable spots” — heated and powered places that offer hot meals, electricity and Internet connections. are More than 3,700 were open across the country as of Thursday morning, Kyrillo Tymoshenko, a senior official in the presidential office, said.
In Kherson, hospitals without electricity and water are also suffering the dire effects of intensifying Russian attacks. They targeted residential and commercial buildings on Thursday, setting some on fire, blowing ash into the sky and scattering glass in the streets. Paramedics treated the injured.
Olena Zora was carrying bread to her neighbors when an attack destroyed half of her house, injuring her husband Viktor. He was moaning in pain as paramedics took him away.
“I was shocked,” she said through tears. “Then I heard (him) shouting: ‘Save me, save me’.”
Mednik reported from Kherson, Ukraine.
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