Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is facing severe power outages and water shortages due to Russia’s attack. The city’s mayor says residents should be prepared to leave the city if the power supply is out.
Millions of Ukrainians have been without electricity and water for weeks after Russian air, missile and drone strikes targeting critical infrastructure. The power connection is also being shut down to avoid overload and to repair the facilities. About 40 percent of Ukraine’s electricity system has been damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks on power plants and transmission systems.
A city official warned that water supply and sewerage services will also be disrupted if the power supply is completely shut down.
According to the Geneva Conventions outlining humanitarian conduct in wartime, war should not be attacked “in the conduct of civilians”.
In a speech on Ukrainian television, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko characterized Russia’s attacks on infrastructure as “terrorism” and “genocide”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t need Ukrainians. He needs his territory, he needs Ukraine without us,” said the former heavyweight boxer.
“So everything that is happening now (attacks on infrastructure) is genocide. His job is to make sure we die, freeze or flee our land so he can take over everything.”
Average temperatures in Kiev drop below freezing in winter and drop even further at night.
Klitschko said authorities were doing “everything” to keep power and water supplies going. But he assures that there are preparations for different scenarios as well.
The mayor said Kiev’s three million residents should arrange to stay with friends or relatives living in suburbs that still have water and electricity. So that they have a plan for the “worst-case scenario” if Kiev’s electricity supply is completely cut off.
“The authorities are stockpiling fuel, food, water and residents should do the same. At least 1,000 shelters are being set up across the city where people will be able to get warmth in case of emergency,” he added.
In a post on the messaging app Telegram, Kyiv security director Roman Chachuk gave a similar message to the mayor’s comments.
He stressed that city authorities are making all plans but “there is no reason to talk about evacuating people right now”.
Residents of Kiev, meanwhile, said they knew power could go out and emergency supplies could become scarce.
Dmytro, a 30-year-old father of two, told the BBC he already planned to leave Kyiv if the situation worsened. He stocked up on fuel, bought generators and said he would move his family to his grandparents’ house on the outskirts of Kiev.
He said he started planning these two weeks ago “when the authorities announced the setting up of warming shelters”.
“I realized that eventually there would be no electricity,” he said.
Another resident, Anastasia, 36, said she would stay in town even if the power went out.
“Our guards sleep on the ground, so we continue in our apartments in the cold,” he said.
Attacks on important dams and power outages in Kherson
Russian-backed authorities in occupied Kherson reported loss of electricity and water. They therefore blamed the Ukrainian strike on nearby power lines and an important dam.
They urged residents to “remain calm” and said the situation would be resolved “quickly”.
But the head of Ukraine’s regional administration blamed Russia for the power outage.
Russian media reported some power outages in nearby areas due to damage to the hydroelectric Kakhovka dam in the missile attack. However, Ukraine has not commented on this report. The attack on Kakhovka Dam could not be verified from independent sources.
Ukraine has warned in recent weeks that Russian forces intend to blow up the dam, exposing thousands of people in the surrounding area to severe flooding.
Russia captured Kherson early in the war. But as Ukrainian forces advance, they are focused on retaking it. Kherson is located downstream of the dam.
Big loss in Donetsk
Ukrainian President Zelensky said in a televised address last night that Russia had suffered “huge losses” in the “terrible” attack on Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
Three hundred members of a brigade of Russian marines have been killed, wounded or missing in four days in the Pavlivka area, according to ‘The Insider’, an independent media outlet for Russia-related news.
Posts on the pro-Russian Telegram channel are drawing attention to the dire situation of these brigades.
Zelensky also warned that Russia is “intensifying their forces for a possible repetition of a massive attack on our infrastructure, energy.”