Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska said that her country would endure the coming winter despite the freezing temperatures and regular blackouts. She referenced a poll carried out last week which showed 9 in 10 Ukrainians were prepared to endure Russian missile strikes and blackouts for another three years. In recent weeks, Vladimir Putin has shifted his military strategy from ground warfare to large-scale attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.
Russia has deployed drones and missiles to target the country’s thermal and hydroelectric power plants, electricity substations and gas production facilities.
The barrage of airstrikes has left millions in the country facing the bitter cold without heating or light.
Mrs Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, made a defiant stand against President Putin’s tactics in an interview with the BBC this week.
She said: “We are ready to endure this.
“We’ve had so many terrible challenges, seen so many victims, so much destruction, that, if I’m honest with you, blackouts are not the worst thing that can happen to us.”
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The Ukrainian First Lady continued: “Recently, just last week, an opinion poll was published where Ukrainians were asked how much longer they can endure in these conditions – without light, without heat.
“A majority, over 90 percent, said they are prepared to endure this for two to three years if they could see the prospect of joining the European Union.
“They want to be a part of the European family as equals.”
When asked about the prospect of the war dragging on for years, Ms Zelenska was resolute: “We are all hoping it won’t be this long. We are all hoping it will end sooner.
“You know, it is easy to run a marathon when you know how many kilometres there are.”
On Friday, President Zelensky appeared to criticise the Kyiv mayor, Vitali Klitschko, for not restoring power quickly enough in the capital.
He remarked that “many Kyiv citizens were without electricity for more than 20 or even 30 hours” and stressed the need for “quality work” from the mayor’s office.
Electricity has also been restored in the liberated city of Kherson, which was retaken from Russian occupation earlier this month.
The city had been without electricity, central heating and running water when Ukrainian forces reclaimed it on 11 November.