Former professional boxer and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko has urged allies of Ukraine to send blankets, generators, and winter clothes as the country prepares for a harsh winter amid severe blackouts. Russia has been hitting Ukraine with a barrage of cruise-missile and drone attacks aimed at the country’s electrical infrastructure in order to try and freeze out its resilience in the hopes it will eventually submit to Moscow.
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshschuk warned Ukrainian refugees in other countries to not return home until Spring.
In a televised interview, she said: “I wanted to ask people not to return. We need to survive winter.”
She said that the grid “won’t survive” if the refugees return from abroad and warned that the issue would “only get worse”.
Recent data from the UN Refugee Agency shows that over 7.7 million refugees from Ukraine are sheltering across Europe.
Now, the 51-year-old mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine is on the edge of another humanitarian crisis as Russia continues its relentless attacks on power plants.
He also warned: “The risk of a humanitarian issue is pretty big, if they [Ukrainians] have an opportunity to stay outside of Ukraine this winter, please stay there.”
He added: “We are doing everything we can do to save the lives of our people and to protect them. But this winter will definitely be a huge challenge for us.”
Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine have been suffering from crippling blackouts with warnings that they may last weeks or months.
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With many Ukrainians living without light and heat, Mr Klitschko and his staff are preparing for a “worst-case scenario” and have been able to purchase generators and have 1,000 mobile heating points ready to go in Kyiv.
The mayor said: “We pay for every minute, every hour, every day with our lives.”
While President Zelensky has been forthcoming in demanding further military aid to help his nation in its fight against Putin, Klitschko has said the country also needs vital supplies to keep people warm.