According to the governor of Donetsk’s eastern region, Ukraine is at high risk of freezing death this winter due to Russian attacks on power supplies.
Sky News’ Pavlo Kyrylenko stated that the Ukrainian authorities are providing stoves and firewood to those still living in villages and towns in his province, which have no electricity or gas and suffer from sub-zero temperatures.
He said that it was very difficult to fix critical infrastructure due to the Russian bombardment. “So people are living in the worst and most difficult times.”
Even in areas of fighting, special hubs – also known as “points in invincibility”, that provide electricity and warmth are being offered.
“But the enemy knows this… and they are firing and launching missile strike precisely at these heating points,” said Mr Kyrylenko, speaking in Kramatorsk.
When asked if he was concerned that people might die from hypothermia this winter, the governor replied: “Due the fact that there’s no heating, there’s a risk that people will die.”
The Russian rocket fire and artillery pose the greatest threat.
In military fatigues, the governor stated that the most intense fighting in the war is taking place around Bakhmut, his province, where Russian forces attempt to break through Ukrainian lines.
He stated that they would not succeed.
After suffering defeats in Kharkiv, in the northeast, as well as Kherson, in the south, Russian mercenaries are now focusing their firepower against Bakhmut.
He stated that the situation was “very serious” because of the large concentration of manpower and equipment as well as all types of weapons, including small arms and helicopters.
Why Bakhmut is important
In a tweet in December, the intelligence arm of the UK Ministry of Defence, Defence Intelligence, stated that Bakhmut had been Russia’s principal “offensive effort” since August. However, Bakhmut’s capture has only “limited operational worth”.
The campaign was “disproportionately expensive” and there was a possibility that the seizing of the town had primarily become a symbolic, political goal for Russia.
But Ukraineis investing a lot of resources in defending it.
Mr Kyrylenko explained why Russia should not capture Bakhmut.
He said that it was first about denial of the Kremlin’s propaganda victory of declaring victory after so many defeats.
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It was also important to stop Russian forces making moves before temperatures fall below freezing.
“Thirdly the strategic capture Bakhmut would allow the enemy to move in direction of… settlements like Kostyantynivka and Druzhkivka and move to north-central parts of the region,” said the governor.
He stated that the Ukrainian troops would do everything possible to stop this from happening.