Russian Missiles Deliver New Woe to Kyiv, Knocking Out Tap Water – The New York Times – 31.10.22
Moscow kept up its campaign to destroy civilian infrastructure, in an apparent bid — so far unsuccessful — to break Ukrainian morale by making cities unliveable.
By Marc Santora and Matthew Mpoke Bigg
KYIV, Ukraine — The latest Russian assault on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure left most of Ukraine’s capital without running water on Monday, forcing residents to line up by the thousands at old stone water wells in the ancient heart of Kyiv and at metal spigots in marketplaces across the metropolis.
Eighty percent of the city was without water early Monday, after Russia launched dozens of cruise missiles at Ukraine, though that outage figure was cut in half by evening, officials said. The barrage — like many recently — appeared aimed largely at depriving people not just of fresh water but also of electricity and heat. Hundreds of thousands of people in Kyiv lost power, as did many residents in other cities.
Maksym Khaurat, 31, said he and his wife, who have a newborn baby, Miroslava, had already been enduring rolling blackouts, a lack of heat in their apartment and a failing internet connection. The loss of water was different. For the first time, they were unable to fill a glass of water from the tap, take a shower or flush a toilet.
“We can live without heat and light,” he said as he waited to fill up a water container.
Mr. Khaurat said he was having second thoughts about having returned to the city after relocating to western Ukraine earlier this year. “We have a lot of decisions to be made,” he said.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed in a statement that it had taken aim at “the military control and energy systems of Ukraine.” In recent weeks, as Russian forces have lost ground in the south and east, they have sharply increased attacks on civilian infrastructure across the country, in an apparent attempt to break Ukrainians’ will by making their cities and towns unliveable.
Before those missile and drone barrages began, many people who had fled Kyiv early in the war returned, along with much of the city’s daily activity and energy.
The blows to the water system on Monday drove many people back to the age-old practice of trudging with their own containers to old communal wells or public taps. But Mr. Khaurat’s mood, like that of many of his compatriots, was one of defiance, not defeat, in the face of the war waged by President Vladimir V. Putin.
“I am angry,” he said. “Angry at that man in Russia. I hate him.”
Still, he said, many other Ukrainians have suffered far more than he and his family — and they endure. And, he added, “however bad this winter may be, it will be better than living under Russia.”
The war’s repercussions were also being felt beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Russia’s decision to suspend an agreement that allowed safe passage for Ukrainian grain shipments through the Black Sea will have “catastrophic consequences,” especially for places like Somalia, the drought-stricken country on the brink of famine, warned the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit humanitarian group.
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Marc Santora reported from Kyiv, and Matthew Mpoke Bigg from London. Reporting was contributed by Richard Pérez-Peña, Ivan Nechepurenko, Matt Stevens, Safak Timur, Monika Pronczuk, Maria Varenikova and Abdi Latif Dahir.
Collecting drinking water from public taps in Shevchenko Park on Monday in Kyiv. Credit...Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times