After weeks of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Kyiv’s mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, is warning residents in the battered country’s capital city that there is a high possibility that a total blackout could occur as temperatures drop below freezing and more Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid are expected.
While speaking at a local security forum, Klitschko said, “The temperature in the apartment may not differ much from the outside temperature. I appeal to the people…to have a supply of technical water, drinking water, durable food products, warm clothing.” The plea came as temperatures in Kyiv hit -4 degrees Celcius (25 degrees Fahrenheit).
While utility crews rush to repair the soviet-era energy grid, it is estimated that 40 percent of nation’s energy grid is either heavily damaged or destroyed. Officials have been setting up warming centers in the hardest-hit areas across the country, but they have warned residents of those areas that they may need to evacuate if the energy crisis escalates.
The outskirts of Kyiv are not as hard-hit or damaged as the city center and Klitschko has encouraged people without electricity or water to stay with friends or family in the less affected areas.
While Ukrainians struggle with freezing temperatures and meeting basic needs, the Kremlin has defended the assaults that have decimated Ukraine saying that Russia is targeting areas used to replenish Ukrainian troops with weapons provided by NATO and its Western allies.
During a meeting at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, the U.S. Secretary of State said of the Russian attacks, “As Ukraine continues to seize momentum on the battlefield, President Putin continues to focus his ire and his fire on Ukraine’s civilian population. Heat, water, electricity – for the children, for the elderly, for the sick – these are President Putin’s new targets. He’s hitting them hard. This brutalization of Ukraine’s people is barbaric.”
As Ukraine struggles to bring it’s shelled power grid back online, Western Europe struggles to source enough energy to stay warm during the winter. With Russia’s supply of fuel being cut off due to sanctions, much of Europe is scrambling to find enough liquid natural gas and oil to heat homes and meet needs over the coming months.
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