Ukrainians were used to 24-hour-a-day-seven-day-a-week uninterrupted electricity. It wasn’t until Russia began bombing their power plants that the country’s “new normal” began.
Even in the capital, Kyiv, there are daily power outages. Sometimes it’s on a schedule, and other times, when there is an attack, the lights just go out.
But after months of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, some locals are trying to rebuild their small businesses by way of emergency services’ power supplies as the violence continues.
Outside of central Kyiv, emergency service workers man one of the government tents set up to provide residential neighborhoods with electricity and internet. They can’t light the surrounding buildings, but people can sit in one of the tents and work or catch up on their social media using a dedicated internet dish.
Nazer Senychak, 29, moves between his home in Lviv, in Ukraine’s west, and his girlfriend’s apartment in Kyiv for his job in IT. Like many residents, when describing life in the Ukrainian capital, he oscillates between sanguinity and fear. He said he’s gotten used to the bombings and he’s certain the war will end this year.
He is also concerned that a missile could hit his building.
“There were a few times when we heard very loud explosions here during the massive rocket attacks in October, the 10th if I’m not mistaken,” he said. “But in general, it feels okay.”
Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure began in October, with massive strikes across the country, killing civilians and knocking out power structures. Since then, the devastation has continued.
On Saturday, a strike hit a residential building in the central city of Dnipro, killing more than 40 people, including children.
At the Kyiv power center, locals say the daily grind of surviving the war is exhausting.
“The world needs to know what is happening here, like that attack in Dnipro,” said Victoria Kozlova, 51. “It is impossible to understand how this could happen in the 21st century.”
Before the war, Kozlova had a small advertising agency, which quickly went under after Russia invaded in February 2023. Then, after spending months in Western Ukraine and the Czech Republic, she grew tired of being displaced and unemployed, so she returned home to rebuild her business. Now, she is back home in Kyiv, trudging up 12 flights of stairs to her apartment when the power is out.
“There are air sirens. I can hear explosions,” notes Kozlova. “And, of course, I feel the lack of electricity.”