In Kiev, in Julia’s house: “So we live in the cold without light and water”

Lorenzo Cremonesi, sent to Kiev / CorriereTv

«Yesterday morning we had twenty-two degrees in the house. After the missile blasts in the middle of the day the central heating went out, the taps ran dry and the power cut didn’t allow us to turn on the emergency electric heaters. Now we’ve dropped to 16 degrees, if it continues like this, with the cold of the night, even the temperature in our bedrooms could drop to 10 degrees, the walls will then freeze and the situation is bound to get worse in the next few days”. The remedies? She shuts herself up in the kitchenette trying to warm up with gas and the flame of the candles. The evenings become endless without the light bulbs on, one lives in the half-light smoking, playing cards and drinking a sort of homemade vodka bought for a few grivnias by friends in the countryside, because good wine in the supermarkets of the center is now unapproachable for families like theirs who in nine months have lost 80 percent of their income. On the bed they spread out the sleeping bag and bury it under all the blankets that are in the closets. At home you stay dressed in layers, including the winter jacket. “Soon we will go to the public fountain nearby and then we will have water to wash the dishes,” say Ala Graciova, 67, and her daughter Julia, 44. Inside the house of Julia, 47, a citizen of Kiev she too is a victim with her mother of Putin’s bombing of civilian infrastructure. Kiev lacks water and electricity, a “medieval” strategy of the Russian army to besiege the capital of Ukraine, a city of nearly three million inhabitants, leaving it in the dark and cold.

Scenes of daily life in Kiev crippled by Russian missiles the day before yesterday. To reach their home in the Dorohojechi district, we had to navigate traffic jams in the chaos of switched off traffic lights and queues of people in front of the few open supermarkets thanks to the fact that the owners managed to get hold of increasingly unobtainable generators. The place is known to the press: here is the tower with television repeaters that was targeted by Russian missiles on March 1st. It was the first raid against civilian targets in Kiev, and since then amazement has turned into acute and widespread popular anger. A light rain is falling today, turning into sleet at times.

The Graciova family’s apartment is on the fifth floor of a Khrushchevka, which are the well-known prefabricated buildings widespread in all the regions that were part of the Soviet empire and were commissioned in the early 1960s by then prime minister Nikita Khrushchev. Julia lives there with her three children, aged between 20 and 25, who no longer study, but no one works. “The war has reduced employment opportunities,” she says. She is separated from her husband Max, who lives in the neighborhoods on the eastern bank of the Dnipro and is also unemployed. He occasionally spends some money, but at the moment they can’t communicate: the telephone lines are cut and to send messages you have to go to the subway station, or to the nearby school, number 24, where one of those that Zelensky called “centers of resistance”. Here you can charge your cell phones, connect and warm up.

They are simple people, generally they prefer to dream of holidays and talk about love gossip or the possibility of fabulous earnings, but they do not compromise on one principle: Putin must withdraw from the territories occupied since February 24, otherwise, they will not give in, they are ready to suffer the cold, live in the dark and tighten their belts. “I never thought the Russians could attack and bomb us like this. Putin is a madman who must be stopped with weapons and punished. Zelensky may have made several mistakes in underestimating the Russian threat, but he has moved well since the beginning of the war, we are with him and we will resist » says Julia, measuring her words. It is worth listening to her: she is not a soldier or a politician, she works as a worker in a large construction company penalized by energy cuts. “My monthly is now less than a quarter of what I took a year ago,” she explains. But the only concession that you would perhaps be ready to make to the Russians in exchange for an end to the attacks and above all for “a secure and guaranteed peace” would be to start negotiations on the future of Crimea and part of Donbass. Mother Ala and the people who wait patiently in line for their turn at the municipal water pump in the snow agree with her. They smile, they pat each other on the back. There is a rumor that in some areas of the city the water is returning, the teams of technicians are performing miracles. “We will resist, the Russians must withdraw,” they repeat. Maybe even Putin should listen to them.

Here the updates on the Russia-Ukraine war
– President Zelensky’s appeal to the UN: «In Ukraine people without light and in the cold, it’s a crime against humanity.

November 24, 2022 – Updated November 24, 2022, 7:38 pm

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In Kiev, in Julia’s house: “So we live in the cold without light and water”


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