Russia and Ukraine: Kyiv is struggling to restore power after Russian attacks
Ukraine has announced that up to 50 percent of the country’s electricity needs are currently unmet following massive Russian missile attacks this week.
Energy operator Ukrengo said the priority is repairing key infrastructure, but repairs are now taking longer.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the “most difficult situation” in terms of electricity and water supply was spread across 15 regions, including the capital Kyiv.
The winter season with snow and sub-zero temperatures is now beginning across Ukraine.
There are fears people across the country could be dying of hypothermia.
About 70 percent of Kiev residents woke up without electricity on Thursday morning.
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko told the BBC he did not rule out a “worst-case scenario” in which the city would go without electricity, heat or water.
But Ukrainian authorities said later Thursday that power and water supplies were being gradually restored in all regions.
James Wasserhaus – – BBC correspondent in the Kherson region – Ukraine
Serious coordination takes place between members of engineer Andrei Kisenko’s team as they work to fix a broken electrical cable in a rural area of Kherson, southern Ukraine.
With a hole in the ground a few meters from the Wire Tower, they are confident that the bomb is the culprit.
Two months ago, this 100-kilometer power line crossed the Russian-occupied borders after a Ukrainian military counter-offensive was launched to liberate the Kherson region.
Since the Russian forces withdrew about two weeks ago, the five-yearly repair has become a daily ritual for these engineers.
“Previously, such work was only necessary after storms. Now it’s like we’re building the entire cable network from scratch,” explains Mr. Kisenko.
They work for D-Tech, Ukraine’s largest energy company, and have so far repaired 50 kilometers of this line.
They expect the second half to be more difficult as they are near the Dnipro River where bombing is increasing.
In terms of the working environment, they don’t have it any harder[als Bombenangriffe]– not least the flak jackets they all have to wear.
However, his team methodically tied the cable together and lifted it into place.
As the power line stretches across the hazy horizon, it looks like a vicious circle.
“When it all started, the early days were tough,” says the engineer. “There will be constant bombing and broken cables,” he added.
“But we’re used to it and we have to hope it gets better.”
As the Kherson region continues to be liberated, so too does demand for Ukraine’s congested power grid.
Because of this, authorities are urging people to leave the area, but for many, that’s easier said than done.
Villages near the destroyed towers have been without water and electricity for eight months.
The streets are littered with shell craters while distant artillery reminds you that the fighting has continued, not gone.
We meet Anton Kramar, 90, who boarded up the windows of his home after they were shattered by shrapnel, which also hit his wife.
He and his family have lived here for 50 years and have seen three wars.
“It’s very difficult,” he says. “People bring candles, but they don’t last long.”
Some humanitarian aid has arrived in their village and Mr. Kramar says he has been promised firewood and a stove, but they have yet to arrive.
“If we don’t get a stove, we have to cut down the trees ourselves and carry the wood on our shoulders,” he says.
“I’ve worked all my life, but I have nothing.”
Bodan Dzybchuk shows us the small gas stove in his apartment, which is his only source of heat. He still uses it to cook meals for his neighbors who don’t have a stove.
“Maybe I should go to Kyiv and ask for help there! It’s crazy,” he says.
Dzybchuk only uses half of his apartment because windows in other rooms broke. The cold air hits you as you look into his living room.
As for Mr. Dzybchuk, enough is enough.
“It’s not a good way to live,” he says, tears in his eyes. “It’s crazy. I don’t know what to do.”
“I’ve never cried like that in my life. Now I’m an old man.”
Kyiv accused Russia of committing “crimes against humanity” following its recent rocket attacks.
And Moscow’s new method of targeting infrastructure has made Ukraine a country more prone to power cuts.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that Ukrainians’ resolve has weakened, but more and more of them are suffering.
Moscow’s claims that it is only attacking military sites have fallen on deaf ears in this part of Kherson.
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