The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is in survival mode after a brutal series of Russian air strikes has left most citizens without electricity, clean water or both.
About 70 percent of the city was left without electricity Thursday morning after Russia’s latest missile barrage, officials said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday that the recovery process in the capital and other affected areas was continuing and officials were focusing on “the gradual restoration of electricity, heating, water supply and communications”.
“The most difficult situation is in Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Poltava and Kharkiv regions. But along with supplying electricity to critical infrastructure, we also supply water and heat,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly speech.
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He also said areas that suffered complete blackouts when Russian forces targeted Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure were regaining power.
“We are restoring power to new consumers every hour,” he said. “Energy workers, utility workers, businesses – everyone is doing their part to bring the light back. This is truly a nationwide task – Ukraine is working as united as possible on this.”
Residents have been forced to find shelter and warmth where they can, including restaurants and facilities that have emerged unscathed from the attack.
Oleksiy Rashchupkin, a 39-year-old Kiev resident, said he lost power during the attack but managed to find an open café with electricity.
“I’m here because there’s heat and coffee and light,” he told the Associated Press. “Here is life.”
In Kiev, where some residents have been forced to use buckets to collect potable rainwater, the coming winter months bring a whole new challenge, but their determination is unquestioned.
Ukrainians say attacks by Russian President Vladimir Putin will not break them.
“No one will compromise their will and principles just for electricity,” said Alina Dubeiko, 34, also without electricity, heat or water at home.
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As the Russian invasion passed nine months on Thursday, Dubeiko said he would rather be left without power than live under Russia’s rule.
“Without light or you [Putin]? Without you,” she said, echoing comments Zelenskky made on Oct. 10, when the rocket bombardments began.
While Kiev is recovering, other cities, notably Kherson, have come under the heaviest shelling since Ukrainian forces retook it two weeks ago.
The Russian rocket attack on the city left at least five people dead.
Nighttime strikes outside the city of Zaporizhzhia destroyed a Ukrainian maternity hospital, killing a 2-day-old baby, officials said.
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“At night, Russian monsters fired huge rockets at the small maternity ward of the Vilniansk hospital. Grief overwhelms our hearts: a baby who had just seen the light of day was killed. Rescuers are working on the spot,” Governor Oleksandr Starukh said. he said on Telegram Thursday.
Russia’s attacks continue to cause nationwide blackouts, even as it says it is targeting key infrastructure enabling the Ukrainian military. Ukrainian officials, however, say Russia’s attacks have caused untold damage to civilian areas, including homes, roads, hospitals and schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.