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The nightmare of Ukrainian daily life

A mother and child in a bomb shelter (Credit: Marko Subotin / Alamy Stock Photo)

3 min read

Ukraine’s situation is tense and volatile. The public sirens wail unexpectedly during the day or night with a diabolical sound to warn that death is omnipresent as a result of Iranian kamikaze drones or calibre missile strikes. Running to nearby shelters has become a sacred ritual that must be performed on a daily basis. To stay on track with the danger, Ukrainians must become accustomed to being kicked out of their offices, restaurants or supermarkets with only a few minutes to complete their orders when sirens (vozddyshnaya trivoga as they are called in Russian) go off.

The power outage has hampered most towns’ activities, impairing drivers’ visibility, shutting down traffic lights and metros, and obstructing communications. During one recent attack, for example, missiles and drones struck 10 regions, destroying more than 18 facilities, the majority of which were energy-related.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko stated at a press conference that the city has descended into thirst and darkness, with water cut off for 80 per cent of consumers and Russian strikes cutting power to 350,000 people.

Recent rocket attacks on power plants have targeted Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Vinnytsia among others. In most Ukrainian towns it is common to see deserted landscapes, desolate streets, shops half burned and  blackened, the main road sunk as if hit by an earthquake, giant buildings dwarfed by explosions and part-collapsed, checkpoints and road blocks where sandbag fortifications have been constructed. The basement is the only safe place from constant shelling from calibre rockets and Iranian shahed drone attack – or “mopeds” as Ukrainians call them for the annoying buzzing noise.

The road to regain Ukraine’s territorial integrity ahead remains remote and arduous, soaked with sweat and blood

While the winter season approaches, Ukraine faces a new challenge: a race against time to survive freezing temperatures. Ukrainians are stockpiling as much wood, fuel and food as they can from a variety of sources. In the newly-liberated town of Izium, for example, people gathered the floorboards of demolished schools, and in nearby pine forests, took broken trees scattered among neglected Russian trenches next to a fresh mass cemetery.

Izium shows the magnitude of the scale of destruction. Located in the Kharkiv region, it served as an important command and supply hub for Russia’s northern front. Ukrainian troops liberated Izium as they reclaimed a broad strip of territory in the south and east. The soldiers have begun to refer to their capture of abandoned cash of weaponry and equipment as “Russian lend lease”.

The Ukrainian counter-attack has dealt a seriously heavy blow to Russian troop morale in Moscow’s attempt at the systematic destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure. However, victory has a hefty price. The road to regain Ukraine’s territorial integrity ahead remains remote and arduous, soaked with sweat and blood. “Every square kilometre is the life and health of our soldiers. And they lay them on the altar of victory,“says Boryslav Bereza, former People’s Deputy of Ukraine.

Ukraine needs an effective Patriot air defence system right away to protect Ukrainians from a swath of blades aimed at civilian necks, and the devastating attack of Russian rockets and drones. Former president Petro Poroshenko recognised the threat and asked former United States president Barack Obama to expedite the delivery of Patriot MM-104 to the Ukrainian people. Not only will the transfer save innocent lives from the daily barrage of air raids, it will contribute to the restoration of sanity and public trust.

However, every day of delay there is another unborn Ukrainian infant who will face a terrifying fate. He or she will be born to be buried alive later under rubble.

Said Batrouni, Journalist in Ukraine

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