January 31, 2023

Rory Challands of Al Jazeera reporting in Kyiv on how Ukrainians are struggling to cope with the darkness.

Kyiv, Ukraine – I’m not much of a fighter, but I know the feeling. And if you’ve ever prepared to get punched in the stomach, you know the feeling too.

Inhale. Muscle tension. Knowing that the blow is coming. Hope it doesn’t hurt too much.

This is how Ukraine is waiting for the next wave of Russian missile strikes.

Everyone knows it’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of when. And how bad.

Since October 10, every few days, Russia has deployed its strategic bombers and warships to launch air strikes against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

Cruise missiles crashed into power plants and water bodies.

Most shot down by Ukrainian air defense. But it is enough to pass to completely shut down large parts of the power system.

For days afterwards, people shiver in dark, cold houses. They cook on camp stoves in candlelit kitchens. They put on all their clothes to sleep and cover themselves with all the blankets they have.

Engineers work two or three shifts, repairing or replacing burnt circuits and blackened transformers. After a few days, the food is fixed.

Then Russia does it again.

The cumulative effect is bringing the country’s energy grid to its knees. The capacity is greatly reduced. Emergency and scheduled shutdowns continue even when the power supply is restored.

Ukraine and its allies say that Russia is using winter as a weapon – and it’s hard to disagree.

See also  Could It Happen Here? The U.K.’s Crisis Shows How Easy Policy Can Go Wrong.

And while Ukraine insists that Russia is committing a war crime, international laws on warfare are not so clear-cut.

Electrical systems can be considered legitimate targets if they are used by both military and civilians. This is what most military men do, and Ukraine is no exception. The United States is targeting energy infrastructure in North Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

The other day I went with a team to shoot in the suburbs of Kyiv on a gloomy, powerless, late autumn day.

Newly fallen snow was beginning to show its age, thawing into large muddy brown puddles as the temperature hovered just above freezing. At random, we stopped at a looming Soviet-era apartment building.

We lit our headlamps in the pitch darkness of the lobby. Our frosty breaths billowed in the light as we trudged up the seemingly endless flights of stairs.

On the eighth floor, we tried several doors.

Alena opened up. And, surprisingly, she greeted unfamiliar men loitering along the dark corridor.

Alena lives in a two-room apartment with a young son and a truck driver husband.

She installed battery-powered garlands to fight the darkness.

“Like a Christmas vibe in November,” she said with a smirk. The family sleeps in the same bed, which helps to keep warm.

I asked Alena how airstrikes and power outages affect morale.

“No one I know is ready to negotiate with Russia because of these strikes,” she told me. “It just makes us hate them even more.”

This is the type of defiance you often hear about in Ukraine. The message is simple: if life without electricity means Ukrainians can live without Russia, then they say they will take it.

See also  Germany’s defense minister resigns amid Ukraine criticism

I decided to shoot a reporter’s note on the cold stairwell of an apartment building.

We stopped between takes. Voices came from somewhere far away. It seemed like a century had passed before their owners got to us.

It was a woman, Lyudmila, and her two children. She staggered up with one of the children in her arms, puffing on the stairs and loudly cursing the Russians.

Passing by us, she smiled and exhaled the words that have become a popular greeting since the beginning of the war: “Glory to Ukraine!” – Glory to Ukraine.

Credit: www.aljazeera.com /

The post Winter starts, Ukraine goes dark: Fear and resolve in blackouts appeared first on Businesshala News.