Ukraine’s government is working to restore electricity to millions of people on Saturday as the country celebrates the 90th anniversary of Holodomor, a devastating famine that President Volodymyr Zelensky compared to wave of Russian attacks on critical infrastructure has left much of the country cold and dark.
Holodomor, which means “die of hunger” in Ukrainian, is widespread in Kazakhstan and through southern Russia but is most severe in Ukraine, where it causes entire villages to starve to death. Many historians believe that the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin staged a famine to crush Ukraine’s independence aspirations.
Government officials on Saturday marked the anniversary of the 1932-33 famine – observed annually on the fourth Saturday in November – at a time when Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is accused of using Missiles hit Ukraine’s power grid to freeze the country.
“Previously they wanted to destroy us with hunger, now – with darkness and cold,” Mr. Zelensky said in a statement on Saturday. “We cannot be broken. Our fire will not go out. We will conquer death again.”
The head of his office, Andriy Yermak, say on Twitter on Saturday that freedom has always been of primary importance to Ukrainians and that in the 1930s, “Soviet authorities tried to destroy their will to resist — along with them.”
“Now, 90 years later,” he added, “Russia has launched an all-out war against us and wants to host Holodomor 2.0.”
President Biden paid tribute to the millions of lives lost in the famine.
“Even as brave Ukrainians continue to defend their democracy and freedom from Russia’s brutal aggression,” he said. said in a statement this week, “we pause to honor the victims of past injustices and horrors inflicted on Ukraine.”
Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Yermak were in the capital Kyiv on Saturday with leaders from Belgium, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland to kick off a new initiative to celebrate the anniversary and to help bring the army together. cup of Ukraine to poorer countries.
It was the highest-level visit by a Hungarian official since the Russian invasion in February, and was attended by the Hungarian president, Katalin Novak, among the leaders. The meeting comes just days before the European Union is expected to make a final decision on whether to disburse billions of euros in frozen funding to Hungary, the country seen as a link. weak in a united front against Russian aggression.
Novak is a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, who has refused to directly condemn Putin for the Russian invasion and has distanced himself from Kyiv.
In Ukraine, more than six million households remain without electricity from Saturday to Saturday Russia’s Deadly Attack this week further damaged the already limp national grid. This is down from 12 million on Wednesday night, the day of the strike, Mr. Zelensky said.
Ukraine has struggled to get power back on after weeks of Russian air strikes that have degraded infrastructure and made repairs more difficult. Russian attacks have damaged or destroyed about 40% of Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure, officials said, with some sites hit at least five or six times.
The national energy company, Ukrenergo, said on Saturday that the repairs had restored enough energy to meet 75 percent consumption needs of the country. In a statement posted on Facebook, it urged Ukrainians to continue to save electricity.
The southern city of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces recaptured two weeks ago, went without electricity and heat after the departure of Russian troops blew up much of the region’s vital infrastructure. But authorities said on Saturday that the power supply had been restored, even as Russian forces continued. Attack the city with strikes from far away.
Although no attacks were reported in the city overnight, local authorities said shelling had occurred a day earlier. killed two people in the surrounding area.
This week, Mr. Zelensky announced a national drive To create an “Invincible Point,” thousands of temporary centers will provide basic services — electricity, internet access, heat, water, etc. — in the event of a prolonged outage.
“If Russia’s large-scale strikes happen again and if people understand that the power supply cannot be restored within a few hours,” he told the nation in an interview. his nightly address on Tuesday, “the job of ‘Invincible Point’ will be activated.” But on Friday, Mr Zelensky acknowledged there was a problem with the campaign, saying he knew that not every city was “doing well” with setting up shelters.
He singled out Kyiv and especially its mayor, although he did not mention his name, saying that some places there “still need to be improved, to put it mildly” .
“The residents of Kiev need more protection,” he said. in his nightly address. “I expect quality work from the mayor’s office.” He added: “Please be more serious.” The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, did not immediately respond.
Andrew Higgins contribution report.