KYV (Reuters) – Basic services were being restored in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Saturday following the latest wave of Russian airstrikes on critical infrastructure, as residents navigated a fog-shrouded city and prepared for a holiday season marked by uncertainty. Geared up for
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said a quarter of Kyiv remained without heating, but the metro system was back in service and all residents had been connected to water supplies by morning.
He said only a third of the city remained without power, but emergency cuts would still be implemented to save power. “Because power outages are important,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Ukrainian officials said Russia fired more than 70 missiles on Friday in one of its heaviest barrages since its February 24 assault on the Kremlin, prompting a nationwide emergency blackout.
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Earlier this month, Klitschko warned of an “apocalyptic” scenario for the capital if Russian airstrikes on infrastructure continued, although he also said there was no immediate need to evacuate.
“We are fighting and doing everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he told Reuters on 7 December.
In a gloomy winter haze on Saturday, authorities reopened a popular pedestrian bridge that was damaged during an earlier airstrike and put up a smaller-than-usual Christmas tree in a central square.
The vast space in front of the centuries-old St. Sophia Cathedral is traditionally anchored at Christmas by evergreens. But officials this year opted for a 12-metre (40-foot) artificial tree fitted with energy-saving lights powered by a generator.
Most of Ukraine’s population of 43 million are Orthodox Christians.
Klitschko said the tree was funded by donors and businesses, and there would be no public celebration.
“I doubt it will be a true holiday,” said Kyiv resident Irina Soloychuk, who arrived with her daughter to see the tree just hours after another round of air raid alerts went off across the country.
“But we must understand that we are all in this together, we must help each other.”
(Additional reporting by Yuri Khomenko; Editing by Frances Carey)
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