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European effort to help keep Ukraine heated and lit

European effort to help keep Ukraine heated and lit


People walk in the city center where power was cut off yesterday after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine
People walk in the city center where power was cut off yesterday after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine

European officials are trying to help Ukraine stay warm and function through a frigid winter – pledging more support to ease efforts by the Russian military to turn off heat and lights.

Nine months after Russia invaded its neighbor, the Kremlin’s forces have focused on Ukraine’s power grid and other critical civilian infrastructure to tighten their grip on Kyiv.

Officials estimate that about 50 percent of Ukraine’s energy installations were damaged in the latest attack.

France will send 100 high-power generators to Ukraine to help people get through the next few months, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonne said on Friday.

She said Russia was “weaponizing” winter and putting Ukrainian civilians at risk.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley, who arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit on Friday, said Britain’s promised £50m air defense package would help Ukraine defend itself from Russian bombing.

Multiple rocket launchers of the Ukrainian military fire rockets at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut, Donetsk region
Multiple rocket launchers of the Ukrainian military fire rockets at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region (Libkos/AP)

“Words are not enough. Words will not keep the lights on this winter. Words will not protect against Russian missiles,” Mr. Cleverly said in a tweet about military aid.

The kit includes radar and other technology to counter Iranian-supplied explosive drones that Russia has used against Ukrainian targets, particularly the power grid. It comes after the UK announced earlier this month that it had delivered more than 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles.

“As winter sets in, Russia continues to seek to undermine Ukraine’s resolve with brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals and energy infrastructure,” Mr Cleverly said.

His visit came a day after European officials launched a program called “Fountain of Hope”, calling on more than 200 cities across the continent to donate generators and transformers.

The generators are designed to help keep Ukraine’s infrastructure running, providing electricity to hospitals, schools and water pumping stations, among other infrastructure.

The generators may only provide the small amount of energy Ukraine needs during the cold and dark winter months.

But as winter officially begins and power outages become more frequent, the comfort and relief they provide has become apparent.

The hum and rumble of generators is becoming commonplace, allowing shops with generators to stay open and Ukraine’s ubiquitous coffee shops to keep serving hot drinks, maintaining a semblance of normalcy.

Ukrainian soldiers prepare to fire on Russian positions on the front near Bakhmut
Ukrainian soldiers prepare to open fire on Russian positions on the front near Bakhmut (Libkos/AP)

Ukrainian authorities are opening thousands of so-called “invulnerability points” – heated and powered spaces that offer hot meals, electricity and internet connections.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Thursday that almost 4,400 such spaces had opened in most of the country.

He scoffed at Moscow’s attempts to intimidate Ukrainian civilians, saying it was the only option for the Russian military after a string of battlefield setbacks.

“Energy terror, artillery terror, missile terror — that’s all Russia has degenerated to under its current leadership,” Mr Zelensky said.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian officials and energy workers continued efforts to restore supplies after nationwide fires left tens of millions without power and water on Wednesday.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Friday morning that heating had been restored to one-third of the capital’s homes, but half the population remained without power.

Mr Klitschko wrote on Telegram that the authorities hoped to provide all consumers in Kyiv with electricity for three hours on Friday, according to a pre-set schedule.

The governor of the Kharkiv region said power had been restored to all residents of Ukraine’s second-largest city as of Friday morning, but more than 100,000 people in outer areas were still without power.

In the south, authorities in the city of Mykolaev said tap water would start flowing again after a Russian strike cut off supplies on Thursday.



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