Kyiv says it “will not allow Putin to steal Christmas” as Russian attacks threaten to usher in a bleak winter in Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine

Kyiv’s mayor said the city “cannot let Putin steal Christmas” as Ukrainians tentatively prepare to celebrate the holiday season with darkened trees while Russian air strikes cut electricity and wreak havoc on critical infrastructure.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Ukrainian news outlet RBC-Ukraine that Christmas trees will be erected across the Ukrainian capital to celebrate Christmas and New Year, but energy company YASNO said they will not be lit.

Klitschko told the network that mass events would still be prohibited under martial law, but that “no one will cancel the New Year and Christmas, and there must be a New Year’s atmosphere.” We can’t let Putin steal Christmas.

His call comes after weeks of relentless airstrikes on Ukraine’s power grid, which have left families across the country without intermittent electricity, light or water.

Officials are racing to recover resources faster than Russia can dispose of them. Ukraine’s electricity company Ukrenergo said on Tuesday it was running a 30% deficit, 3% higher than the day before, after it implemented a series of “emergency shutdowns” across the country at “several power plants”.

Kyiv Christmas trees will provide a nod to normal life at locations across the city, including the famous Sofia Square. Klitschko said they will be installed to “remind our children of the New Year’s mood.”

“You know,” he said, “we don’t want to take away Saint Nicholas from the children.”

But Yasno explained that the trees will be erected, but without lights. In a short statement on Facebook, the company said, “We don’t know about you, but we’re glad you’re here [trees] And the decision not to have a light on it.”

YASNO cited the load that Full Lighting would place on the Ukrainian network, saying it would reduce significant additional load on the network. Thus, reducing the number of power outages.

Due to the worsening weather, energy use is on the rise, Okernergo said, saying he hopes the energy deficit will decrease as “units get back to work.” It claimed that seven waves of Russian missiles contributed to the recent outage. CNN is unable to independently verify the number of missile waves.

But the race to plug holes in the power grid is likely to be a recurring theme as Ukrainians prepare for a cold and dark winter. Recently, like on Sunday, “Kyiv almost completely restored electricity, water, heating, Internet and network coverage,” said the Kyiv city military administration.

Speaking before a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, the military alliance’s chief said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “was trying to use winter as a weapon of war.”

Jens Stoltenberg said NATO allies had delivered generators to help Ukraine restore its collapsed energy infrastructure, but added that he expected the foreign ministers’ message to be that allies “need to do more,” including providing Ukraine with more air defense systems and munitions. .

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska urged the international community to stay focused on the conflict as the holiday season approaches.

“We hope that the approaching Christmas season will not make you forget our tragedy and get used to our suffering,” she said in a radio interview with the BBC on Tuesday during a visit to London.

I understand that nine months is a very long time, and the Ukrainians are tired of this war, but we have no other choice in this matter. We are fighting for our lives. The British public has a choice: they can get used to our tragedy and focus on their own important things in life.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded with local authorities, including in Kyiv, to do more to build his government’s “invincible points” – pop-up stations offering shelter and services, such as power charging facilities, internet connections, and hot water.

Zelensky criticized the software’s rollout, especially in the capital where he said only some sites were working properly. “There are still other points that need improvement, to put it mildly,” he said. “Kyiv residents need more protection.”

Last week, the Kyiv Regional Clinical Hospital, one of the largest in Ukraine, was about to transfer patients undergoing dialysis treatment, which requires a continuous supply of water, said Vitaly Vlasyuk, deputy head of the military administration for the Kyiv region, in a telephone interview. .

“Unfortunately, when the electricity is cut off in Kyiv, the central water supply is often cut off,” said Vlasyuk. “The lack of water supply is critical.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations said the situation in the southern Ukrainian cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson remained “dire” and “critical”. Nearly a quarter of a million people in Mykolaiv alone face a shortage of heat, water and power.

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