Zelenskiy promises Ukrainians “invincibility centres” as winter approaches

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has promised to set up “invincibility centres” around Ukraine as a harsh winter looms amid relentless Russian strikes that have destroyed the country’s power structure.

Zelenskiy said the centres will provide electricity, heat, water, internet, mobile phone connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock.

“If massive Russian strikes happen again and it’s clear power will not be restored for hours, the ‘invincibility centres’ will go into action with all key services,” Zelenskiy said.

Russian attacks have knocked out power for long periods for up to 10 million consumers at a time. Ukraine’s national power grid operator said on Tuesday the damage had been colossal.

The first snow of the winter has fallen in much of the country over the past week.

Authorities have warned of power cuts that could affect millions of people to the end of March – the latest impact from Russia’s nine-month invasion that has already killed tens of thousands, uprooted millions and pummelled the global economy.

Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities follow a series of battlefield setbacks that have included a retreat of its forces from the southern city of Kherson to the east bank of the Dnipro River that bisects the country.

Also Read: Ukraine war: Gas Plant Hit in Latest Russian Strikes

The World Health Organization warned this week that hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and healthcare facilities lacked fuel, water and electricity.

“Ukraine’s health system is facing its darkest days in the war so far. Having endured more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim of the energy crisis,” Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, said in a statement after visiting Ukraine.

Russia’s strikes on energy infrastructure are a consequence of Kyiv being unwilling to negotiate, Russia’s state news agency TASS quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying last week.

Ukraine and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked, imperialist land grab in the neighbouring state it once dominated within the former Soviet Union.

Western responses have included financial and military aid for Kyiv – it received 2.5 billion euros ($2.57 billion) from the EU on Tuesday and is expecting $4.5 billion in U.S. aid in coming weeks – and waves of sanctions on Russia.

 

Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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