Ukraine’s Effort to Maintain Its Infrastructure

Foreign Policy Brief #161 | By: Yelena Korshunov | December 20, 2022

Header photo taken from: Vladyslav Musiienko / Reuters

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Shelling in Odessa, Ukraine.

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There is another day in the city of Odessa when people are surviving without water, power, and heat. It is 34F on the streets and a little bit warmer in apartments. Adults throw extra blankets on children and wrap themselves in another layer. How long have they been living in this cold and darkness, just trying to survive? A week, a month?  In the chilly morning some of them go to work. It’s cold there as well. However, power generators work 7/24 in hospitals, precincts, and some stores.

Odessa is one of many Ukrainian regions where energy infrastructure has been continually destroyed by Russia’s missiles. Last time it was fixed and almost restored within a week, and right after that another boost of missiles turned Ukrainians back to darkness and cold. Municipal electric transport doesn’t work due to the energy deficit. It’s the holiday season there as well, but this year it’s so different for Ukrainians from what we have on the peaceful land.


Christmas tree in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

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In Odessa, after the Russian attack on energy facilities, more than one million residents were left without power. On the morning of December 10th the Ukrainian military said that power sites were attacked at night by kamikaze drones again. There were also emergency power outages in the entire Odessa region. Millions across the country experienced the same condition. Russia has been regularly shelling Ukrainian energy infrastructure since October, leaving populated areas of Ukraine without electricity, water and heat.

On December 13, a fragment of the program “Vesty with Alexei Kazakov” on Russia’s state TV channel “Russia 24″ was distributed on mass media. In it, TV anchor Alexey Kazakov and Evgenia Petrukhina mockingly talked about the difficulties Ukrainians face due to regular power outages, not mentioning that they were caused by Russian strikes. “There is a shortage of generators in Nezalezhnaya (”Independent” in ukr.) … But even those who have generators do not have a peaceful life. After all, generators are stolen. … The life of a Ukrainian now generally looks like this. Charging phones in stores. Dinner by candlelight. It’s almost romantic, but it only takes about an hour to reheat the food in this way. But the man is forced to shave next to the ATM. …  Another example is that it is possible to remain hairless if you dry your head over a gas stove. 

And this is in the best case. There are more and more news reports about carbon monoxide poisoning…”- humiliate Russia’s reporters – “For almost a week, the city of Nezalezhnaya (”Independent” in ukr.) has been in the dark. …  Simple Ukrainians cannot afford complex cooking now: even 100 milliliters of water (half a glass) will boil for at best 40 minutes on a candle flame…  And Russian borscht, which Ukrainians love very much, is impossible to cook purely physically without generators, gas stoves or bonfires…  But even in such a situation you can see your advantages. Without classic stoves, it is difficult to fry meat with spices or bake flour, and this is harmful. Why not take advantage of the situation and switch to healthier and simple food? After all, the recovery of Ukrainian society is the main goal of strikes on the Nezalezhnaya (”Independent” in ukr.) power system.”


Volodymir Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine.

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“The main thing today is energy. During the day, we managed to restore electricity to almost 6 million Ukrainians. Repair work continues without a break after yesterday’s attack by terrorists. Russia does not spare resources for the war against our people – precisely against the people, against all Ukrainians, from Lutsk to Kharkov, Sumy to Odesa region,” the head of state said.

Zelensky reported that there are problems with the supply of heat and water. “Thank you to all our energy workers, everyone who works to provide heat and water, everyone who repairs communications damaged by shelling and restores normal life every time, no matter how the terrorists try to leave us in the cold and in the dark. The terrorists will still lose.”

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