“We are preparing for the worst winter of our lives,” 25-year-old Anastasia Pyrozhenko tells the Associated Press as the situation in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and other major cities has deteriorated drastically following the largest missile attack on the country’s power grid on Tuesday. Ukrainian state-owned grid operator Ukrenergo reported that 40% of Ukrainians were experiencing difficulties, due to damage to at least 15 major energy hubs across the country.
Her apartment in a high-rise building that looks over the war-torn capital of Ukraine feels like a deathtrap when the power is off, the report states. No water, lighting, or means of cooking food. And there’s the chance that, in the event of a Russian missile strike, you won’t be able to leave the 21st floor in time. It never stays on for very long, even after the power is restored.
According to Anastasia Pyrozhenko, “Russian strikes are bringing Ukraine back to the Stone Age.” Her 26-story high-rise only had power for 30 minutes out of a recent 24-hour period. She claims that her husband and she had to leave their flat due to the “military living conditions.”
“Our building is the highest in the area and is a great target for Russian missiles, so we left our apartment for our parents’ place and are preparing for the worst winter of our lives,” said the 25-year-old.
What Kyiv Mayor Has Said
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, emphasised the necessity of being prepared and resilient in the event of a potential blackout. The worst possible situation Actually, I don’t like to talk about it, but I need to be ready in case we lose power, have a blackout, go without water or heat, or lose all services, including communication, said Klitschko on Friday to the AP.
According to a statement from Ukrenergo (Ukrainian energy company), the entire nation is affected by “thousands of kilometres of critical high-voltage lines not operating.”
It revealed a photograph of a transformer station that a Russian missile had allegedly destroyed, cutting power to almost 400,000 people. Numerous similar transformers are currently present in the power supply, the research claims. This equipment cannot be rapidly replaced.
Following the strikes last week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that more than 10 million Ukrainians were left without electricity; however, on Sunday, he claimed that certain places had witnessed improvements.
In his nightly presentation, Zelenskyy stated that “the restoration of networks and technical supply capabilities, the de-mining of electricity transmission lines, repairs — everything goes on round the clock.”
According to him, there would be blackouts on Sunday night in 15 districts, including Kyiv. On Monday, all regions would have planned disruptions, according to Ukrenergo.
A Harsh Winter
In Kyiv, where temperatures sometimes drop below freezing in the winter, a sudden cold spell and the first snow have greatly worsened the situation. People are forced to use heaters because of the cold, which greatly increases the stress on the grid and lengthens power outages, the Associated Press reported. The Kyiv authorities declared they were installing communal heating spots in response to the chilly weather.
There are 528 emergency points in the three million-person city. Residents will be able to stay warm, sip tea, charge their phones, and receive any assistance they require here. The heating sites will have unique boiler chambers as well as independent power sources.
With the arrival of colder weather, Mayor Klitschko also discussed precautions taken to prepare for energy outages: “We planned and we (requested for) electric generators from our partners, which they sent to us. We have a reserve of oil and diesel for this situation. We have plenty of warm things. There is medicine here.
In case someone becomes trapped in an elevator for an extended period of time, many Kyiv residents have started to leave food boxes, flashlights, and power banks there. Public transportation is affected, some small businesses cannot run, and certain medical facilities can only operate to a certain extent because of the lack of energy.
‘No Need to Panic’
However, the energy ministry stated on Saturday that there was no need to fear as Ukrainian electricity supplies are under control despite a number of Russian strikes on facilities used to generate electricity. Separately, the leader of DTEK, the biggest private energy business in the nation, declared that no one needed to leave Ukraine.
“Denying the panicky statements spread by social networks and online media, we assure you that the situation with the energy supply is difficult, but under control,” the energy ministry said in a statement.
Authorities across the country have scheduled blackouts to help the repair effort, it said, urging families to cut their energy consumption by at least 25%.
“We continue to work to return the light to Ukrainians,” the company said in a statement late on Saturday on the Telegram messaging app.
“It is difficult, sometimes longer than we expected, but we find solutions.”
With inputs from the Associated Press, Reuters
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