Ukraine from space yesterday. The dark area above the Black Sea. Among many other things today I’m thankful I have electricity and heat..
Ukrainian militarys Grad multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS)
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — European officials are scrambling to help Ukraine stay warm and keep functioning through the bitter winter months, pledging Friday to send more support that will mitigate the Russian military’s efforts to turn off the heat and lights.
Nine months after Russia invaded its neighbor, the Kremlin’s forces have zeroed in on Ukraine’s power grid and other critical civilian infrastructure in a bid to tighten the screw on Kyiv. Officials estimate that around 50% of Ukraines energy facilities have been damaged in the recent strikes.
France is sending 100 high-powered generators to Ukraine to help people get through the coming months, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Friday.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, arriving Friday in Kyiv for an unannounced visit, said a promised air-defense package, which Britain valued at 50 million pounds ($60 million), would help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s bombardments.
“Words are not enough. Words won’t keep the lights on this winter. Words won’t defend against Russian missiles,” Cleverly said in a tweet about the military aid.
The package includes radar and other technology to counter the Iran-supplied exploding drones that Russia has used against Ukrainian targets, especially the power grid. It comes on top of a delivery of more than 1,000 anti-air missiles that Britain announced earlier this month.
“As winter sets in, Russia is continuing to try and break Ukrainian resolve through its brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals and energy infrastructure,” Cleverly said.
His visit came a day after European officials launched a scheme called “Generators of Hope,” which calls on more than 200 cities across the continent to donate power generators and electricity transformers.
The generators are intended to help keep essential Ukrainian facilities running, providing power to hospitals, schools and water pumping stations, among other infrastructure.
But the comfort and relief they provide is already evident, as winter begins in earnest and power outages occur regularly. The whine and rumble of generators is becoming commonplace, allowing stores that have them to stay open and Ukraine’s ubiquitous coffee shops to keep serving hot drinks that maintain a semblance of normality.
Ukrainian authorities are opening thousands of so-called “points of invincibility” — heated and powered spaces offering hot meals, electricity and internet connections. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said late Thursday that almost 4,400 such spaces have opened across most of the country.