At first, Ukrainians used their smartphones to warn others of air raid alerts.
Now they have changed course, instead using a suite of apps to track Russian missiles heading towards their country.
Since the start of the war, Russia has attacked Ukraine’s power grid with more than 1,000 missiles. The country’s electricity grid has now been reduced by up to 50%, according to government officials.
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But, speaking in the latest episode of the Sky News Ukraine War Diaries podcast, Kyiv resident Ilyas Verdiev explains why internet connectivity is now sometimes even more coveted than light and heat for beleaguered residents.
“I had a breakdown a week and a half ago, I had no electricity,” he explains. “But the most important thing is that I didn’t have a stable internet connection.
“It means that I haven’t got the information from the different sources on the current situation.
“Telegram is essentially instant messaging [app] where you can publish any type of information on different “channels”. I have a few chains.
“One of them gives you information on how and when the Russian air force is moving, if they are bringing in the missiles, if the missiles have been launched. They can even show pilot interceptions on the Russian side.“
On December 5, Russia attacked kyiv with a new barrage of missiles. Ilyas, like many Kyiv residents, used apps to track the attack from its inception to its eventual execution.
“Today [5 December] they have warned in advance that this air raid is dangerous and there is a massive takeoff of their planes carrying the missiles,” continues Ilyas.
“The other app is the air raid map. It’s a map of Ukraine and each region turns red when the air raid is on in that particular region. We had an air raid from the east of Ukraine.And gradually all regions from east to west to north and south, everything was turning red…if an air raid develops and covers most regions of the map, I will start packing my stuff.. . and I will prepare to leave in the basement. Sooner or later he will come to Kiev.
“Simultaneously, you can hear the real siren outside your apartment, and at the same time you have a notification that sounds exactly like a siren on your mobile.
“I can actually make plans – how to act, what to do, where to go. I can tell my parents ahead of time – they have to be ready to go down the hall or somewhere safer.”
From the makers of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast that follows those living on Europe’s new frontline and those who have escaped it.
Producer: Robert Mulhern
Digital Promotion and Additional Writing: David Chipakupaku