"Heroine!" Official wants to show bitter everyday life as a teacher - Ukrainians describe "chaos" and distress in the blackout
Created: 2022-12-24 06:22
By: Florian Naumann
Tank traps and darkness at the crossroads: a photo from Kyiv on December 16.
© IMAGO/Mykhaylo Palinchak
Russia's war brings blackouts to Ukraine.
The consequences are obviously bad - from "chaos" on the streets to an emergency in the elevator.
Diet also suffers.
Kyiv/Munich – Heavy fighting, especially in eastern Ukraine, continues shortly before Christmas.
But there and in other parts of the country, life goes on for the civilian population - often with great problems and hardship.
A tweet by Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashchenko on Thursday evening highlighted one facet of “normality” in the Ukraine war – he presented his followers with an (unverified) video of a teacher at work.
Nevertheless, the situation is even more dramatic in many places.
Aid and human rights organizations describe oppressive conditions.
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The clip posted by Gerashchenko shows a woman talking into a laptop in the open air and what appears to be bitter cold - the device is placed on a bollard in front of a shopping mall.
"A teacher teaches a class in Kyiv despite the blackout," said Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba's adviser.
The woman placed herself in front of a supermarket to "have at least weak internet".
It is unclear whether this is actually the story behind the pictures.
What is indisputable, however, is that the people in Ukraine are suffering from the current strategy of the Russian armed forces.
For weeks, the military has been attacking the energy infrastructure, among other things - Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu defended this as a "militarily necessary" measure.
Observers see the situation differently: Amnesty International warned on Wednesday (December 21) that the procedure was a “blatant breach of international law” and, given the sub-zero temperatures, “endangered the lives of civilians”.
Amnesty representative Denis Kriwoscheew spoke of "criminal tactics" that are intended to cause suffering in the population.
Ukraine News: "Chaos" at the traffic lights, emergency package in the elevator
The organization recently also collected votes from people in the country.
Among them were urgent calls for help.
Everyday activities, such as routine medical procedures or the way to school, could become life-threatening in the event of a power failure, complained Ukrainians.
"Because traffic lights and street lights don't work during the blackout, there is chaos, everyone is driving around," said a woman named Kateryna.
Another complained that the weak power supply made it almost impossible to cook healthy food for children.
The capital Kyiv has also recently been massively affected by power outages.
In some places, the food supply situation is generally difficult.
As early as November, photos circulating on social media showed empty bread shelves, even in Kiev supermarkets.
On Thursday (December 22), a video footage of people queuing for bread in the street in Russian-held Mariupol made the rounds on Twitter.
The authenticity of these images is not verified.
A blackout Kiev market – the photo is from December 14.
© IMAGO/Mykhaylo Palinchak
Other aids that are hardly noticed in normal times are also no longer available: according to Amnesty, older and disabled people are sometimes hardly able to leave apartments on higher floors of the apartment blocks.
In some cases, residents have placed "emergency packages" with water and food in elevators in case people are trapped in the elevator cabins for a long time in the event of a power failure.
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The Dutch peace NGO PAX for Peace also sounded the alarm shortly before Christmas.
According to research by the NGO, Russia destroyed at least 213 power plants in the Ukraine war up to and including November.
Already in October 40 percent of the Ukrainian energy infrastructure had been destroyed.
Some people are forced to heat indoors with wood or fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, volunteers are trying to get weakened people at least out of the immediate front zones.
For example, a British volunteer told the British newspaper
that shortly before Christmas he had brought, among other things, a man who had suffered a stroke, two mentally handicapped teenagers and an 85-year-old woman from the embattled town of Bachmut: “She had hers all the way Eyes closed, crying or shaking all over.
She was panicking," he said of the woman's condition.
“Imagine it was your grandmother in this state in a war zone.
It is very traumatizing for those affected.
Their world is being destroyed before their eyes.”
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Associations such as “Aktion Deutschland Hilft”, the “Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft” or groups from the German-Swiss NGO Libereco are not only soliciting donations for on-site aid in Ukraine before Christmas.
At least symbolic support can also be seen in European countries: the EU Parliament turned off most of its lights on Wednesday evening.
The Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni – who repeatedly has to adapt her legal alliance to a pro-Ukrainian course – recently even campaigned for people in Italy to switch off their electrical appliances for an hour a day out of solidarity.
Recently, there have also been dramatic descriptions from the front: Ukrainian soldiers described the terrible everyday life at the front.