UKRAINE: As a harsh winter loomed amid unrelenting Russian attacks that had destroyed its electrical infrastructure, the Ukrainian government resolved to build shelters that would supply heat and water as well as encourage citizens to practise energy conservation.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, announced in his nightly video message on Tuesday that special “invincibility centres” will be established all around the country to offer energy, heat, water, internet, mobile phone connections, and a pharmacy for free and all the time.
Ukrainians struggling for basic amenities
Due to Russian strikes, up to 10 million users have been without power for a long time. The operator of Ukraine’s national power grid stated on Tuesday that the damage had been “colossal.”
“The ‘invincibility centres’ will go into action with all key services. If massive Russian strikes happen again, it’s obvious electricity won’t be restored for hours,” Zelenskyy added.
Denys Shmyhal, the prime minister of Ukraine, stated this week that some 8,500 power generator units are shipped into the country every day.
Over the past week, the first snow of the winter season has fallen across large portions of the nation.
Authorities have warned that millions of people could face power interruptions up until the end of March. This is the most recent impact of Russia’s nine-month invasion, which has already resulted in thousands of fatalities, the eviction of millions of people, and the collapse of the global economy.
Attacks by Russia on Ukrainian energy installations come after a slew of combat setbacks, including the evacuation of its forces from Kherson in the south to the east bank of the Dnipro River, which divides the country in half.
A week after it was retaken by Ukrainian troops, residents of Kherson began removing pro-Russian billboards and putting up pro-Ukrainian ones in their place.
Battles are raging east of the city of Donetsk, which Russia’s proxies have been controlling since 2014. According to Zelenskiy, the Donetsk region has been the subject of vicious forays and constant shelling for the last 24 hours.
As per the regional governor, two drone strikes were thwarted on Tuesday in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia took from Ukraine in 2014. A power station close to Sevastopol was the target of one of the drone assaults. Sevastopol serves as the home port for the Russian Black Sea navy.
The Russian-appointed governor, Mikhail Razvozhaev, encouraged moderation and claimed that no harm had been done.
In hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities, there is currently no fuel, water, or electricity. This week, the World Health Organization issued a warning about the situation.
Ukraine is a victim of the energy crisis
Following his visit to Ukraine, Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, released a statement saying, “Ukraine’s health system is facing its darkest days in the war so far. Having endured more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim of the energy crisis.”
To survive a prolonged outage, inhabitants should “stock up on warm clothes and blankets… and think about options,” urged Sergey Kovalenko, the head of YASNO, which provides energy for Kyiv. Ukraine and the West view Russia’s actions as an unjustified, imperialist land grab in the neighbouring nation that it had ruled as part of the former Soviet Union.
The EU provided Kyiv with 2.5 billion euros ($2.57 billion) on Tuesday, and the US is expected to provide Kyiv with $4.5 billion in aid in the coming weeks as part of the West’s response. The West has also imposed waves of sanctions against Russia.
The West has additionally attempted to control Russian energy export prices to reduce the petroleum earnings that fund Moscow’s military-industrial complex while maintaining oil supplies to global markets to avoid price spikes.
A senior U.S. Treasury official said on Tuesday that the Group of Seven nations should soon announce the price cap and will likely adjust the level several times annually.