Last year’s winter was a huge challenge for Ukrainians. Residents faced regular interruptions in electricity, water and heating supplies. By attacking Ukrainian critical infrastructure, the Russians tried to weaken the nation’s spirit. This time, the Ukrainians, anticipating that the attacks will repeat themselves, will be better prepared.
No one in Ukraine has any doubts – this may be another difficult winter. Businesses across the country are preparing for a repeat of last year and potential Russian attacks on critical infrastructure. – We are a nation that can easily adapt to the situation. We survived last year, so we’ll survive now too. When I ask my employees if they are afraid, they say no. We know what we can expect, says Natalia Szadryna, owner of the bakery.
Szadryny’s bakery supplies bread to Ukrainians living in devastated areas. Its owner hopes that thanks to the new generator, the bakery will be able to operate without interruption in the coming months. – We organized a collection and even managed to collect the necessary amount. Good people from Europe contacted us and told us not to spend the money, that they would give us a generator. Its power is greater than we expected, says the woman.
The average Ukrainian living away from the front lines spent about 35 days without electricity. Problems with access to water and heating were common. In the summer, Ukrainians tried to repair damaged power lines, but there was not enough time and money for Ukraine to fully prepare for the drop in temperatures.
– We repaired a large part of what was damaged. We have several power units that will not be ready before winter because they were very seriously damaged. We will deal with them only next year, says Dmytro Sacharuk, executive director of the energy operator DTEK.
Special points in Kiev
According to one of the Ukrainian energy suppliers, last winter the Russians fired over 1,200 missiles and drones at local power plants. The authorities do not provide exact data on attacks on critical infrastructure, claiming that the information is sensitive, but the Kiev School of Economics estimates the damage at nearly $9 billion.
– We expect another difficult cold snap. We try to prepare as best as we can. Last year was a difficult experience for us and we want to be prepared for every scenario, emphasizes Maksym Dotsenko from the Red Cross. – Warm clothes are the priority this winter. In Kiev, we have over 30 points that distribute them. We also help deliver generators, says Igor Prokopenko from the Red Cross.
By the end of the summer, generator sales went up. The Ukrainians also bought candles, batteries and flashlights. Points are being created in Kiev where, in the event of blackouts, residents will be able to warm themselves or charge their phones. – We plan to open about half a thousand such points throughout the city. We will also create a map of companies that have similar points in their facilities, says Oleh Stovołos from the State Service of Ukraine for Emergency Situations.
This winter, Russia may again try to paralyze the Ukrainian energy grid. – This year we will not only defend ourselves, but also react – said the president of Ukraine last week.
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Main photo source: Reuters