Bombed, not beaten: Ukraine’s capital flips to survival mode

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Residents of Ukraine’s bombed capital clutched empty bottles in search of water and huddled in coffee shops for electricity and heat, after new Russian missile strikes engulfed the city and parts of the country a day earlier. neglecting to go into survival mode. to darkness.

In scenes hardly believable in a complex city of 3 million people, some Kyiv residents resorted to collecting rainwater from drainage pipes as repair crews worked to reconnect supplies.

Friends and family members exchanged messages trying to figure out who would restore power and water. Some had one, but others did not. Yesterday’s aerial attack on Ukraine’s power grids left many with none.

Cafes in Kyiv, by a small miracle, both quickly turned into oases of comfort on a Thursday.

Alexey Rashchupkin, a 39-year-old investment banker, woke up to find that the water had been reconnected to his third-floor apartment, but the electricity was not. His refrigerator melted while it was off, leaving a puddle on his floor.

So he hopped into a taxi and crossed the Dnieper River from the left bank to the right to a cafe he had noticed was left open after the previous Russian strikes. Of course, it served hot drinks, hot food, and had music and Wi-Fi on.

“I am here because there is warmth, coffee and light,” he said. “This is life.”

Mayor of Kyiv Vitaly Klitschko said that about 70 percent of the Ukrainian capital was still without electricity on Thursday morning.

As Kyiv and other cities recovered, Kherson came under intense shelling on Thursday after Ukrainian forces retook the southern city two weeks ago. According to witnesses, speaking to reporters of the Associated Press, as a result of rocket fire, four people were killed in front of a cafe, and a woman was also killed next to her house.

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In Kyiv, where cold rain fell on the remnants of previous snow, the mood was gloomy but steely. Winter promises to be long. But Ukrainians say that if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intention is to break them, he should think again.

34-year-old Alina Dubeyko said: “No one gives up their will and principles just for electricity.” He was also looking for the comfort of another coffee shop that was equally crowded, warm and bright. Without electricity, heat or water at home, she decided to continue her routine. Adapting to a life outside of her usual comfort zone, Dubeyko said she uses two cups of water to wash herself, then pulls her hair into a ponytail and is ready for the day.

He said it was better to be without power than with the Russian attack, which crossed the nine-month mark on Thursday.

“Without light or you? Without you,” he said, paraphrasing President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s remarks when Russia launched its first airstrike on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure on Oct. 10.

Western leaders condemned the bombing campaign. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Hitting civilian infrastructure is a war crime.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov admitted on Thursday that he targeted Ukrainian energy facilities. However, he said that they are related to the Ukrainian military command and control system, and the goal is to prevent the transfer of Ukrainian troops, weapons and ammunition to the front line. The authorities of Kyiv and the wider region of Kyiv reported the death of 7 people and the wounding of dozens of people.

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Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenziya, said: “We are striking the infrastructure in response to the massive transfer of weapons to Ukraine and the foolish calls of Kyiv to defeat Russia.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also tried to place the blame for the civilian problem on the shoulders of the Ukrainian government.

“The leadership of Ukraine has all the possibilities to stabilize the situation, it has all the possibilities to resolve the situation in a way that satisfies the demands of the Russian side and, accordingly, ends all the possible suffering of civilians,” Peskov said. .

In Kyiv, people lined up to fill plastic bottles at public water points. 31-year-old health worker Katerina Luchkina started collecting rainwater for the first time during the new war, so that she could at least wash her hands at work, where there was no water. He filled two plastic bottles and waited patiently in the rain for the water to overflow. A colleague followed him and did the same.

“Ukrainians are so smart, we will think of something. “We will not lose our spirit,” Luchkina said. “We work, we live in the rhythm of survival or something, as much as possible. We hope that everything will be fine.”

The mayor said on Telegram that power workers are “doing everything they can” to restore power. Water repair crews were also making progress. In the early afternoon, Klitschko announced that water supply has been restored across the capital, warning that “some consumers are still experiencing low water pressure.”

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Electricity, heat and water were gradually restored elsewhere. In the Dnepropetrovsk region of southeastern Ukraine, the governor announced that 3,000 miners who were trapped underground due to a power outage had been rescued. Regional officials posted messages on social media informing people about the progress of repairs, but also said they would take time.

Faced with the challenges – both now and ahead, as the winter continues – authorities are opening thousands of so-called “invincible points” – heating and electric sites that offer hot meals, electricity and internet connection. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official of the presidential office, said that on Thursday morning, more than 3,700 people were opened across the country.

In Kherson, hospitals without electricity and water are also struggling with the dire consequences of Russia’s heavy strikes. They hit residential and commercial buildings on Thursday, setting some on fire, spewing ash into the sky and breaking glass across the streets. Emergency workers helped the injured.

Olena Jura was delivering bread to her neighbors when her husband Viktor was injured as a result of the impact that destroyed half of her house. He writhed in pain as the medics carried him away.

“I was shocked,” she said through tears. “Then I heard him calling out: ‘Save me, save me.’

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Mednik reported from Kherson, Ukraine.

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Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine here: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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