Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, was hit by another long power outage this week.
“General Winter” enters the battlefield in Ukraine – perhaps he will finally decide on victory and defeat in this tricky battle. Kremlin ruler Vladimir Putin, 70, hopes to bring victims to their knees with his notorious rocket attacks on civilian power plants and heating systems: cold apartments and dark streets are already making Ukrainians reconsider. . However, the main man responsible for one of the most costly wrong decisions in modern Russian history is wrong here as well.
But one after the other.
Historically, it was often the attacking party that stumbled at the start of winter. During his Russian campaign in December 1812, the French general Napoleon lost an entire army in snow-covered areas. Adolf Hitler’s 6th Army was literally decimated in the harsh winter outside Stalingrad of 1942/1943.
The ill-armed squads that Putin has sent to raid his neighbor to the west are unlikely to fare well. Unlike defenders, Russian soldiers do not have NATO sleeping bags with which they can survive bitterly cold nights in Donbass (often minus 30 degrees).
Fighting continues in Kherson: Ukrainians fire mortars at Russian targets(01:32)
300,000 refugees at the start of winter
Putin didn’t care about his frozen front-line fighters until his missiles cut off entire cities from the electrical grid and millions of Ukrainians lost not only electricity, cell phone communication and light, but also drinking water and heating. Anyone who has experienced a Ukrainian winter knows how relentlessly snow falls across the flat country between November and February. In February 2021, just before the outbreak of war, I suddenly found myself alone at a military training ground south of Kiev because my translator Olena, wearing a winter coat and gloves, could not stand the cold.
Putin is counting on the waning morale of a trembling citizenry in Ukraine. At first sight with success. The Defense Ministry in Kiev posted funny videos of soldiers enjoying the snow on social media and joked that people would launch at least 3,000 Russian rocket attacks on Kyiv, but the quality of life there would rise. Russia sinks: Just before the onset of winter the situation becomes serious.
Kirill Dolymbaev (45), a former tax collector in Mariupol and now head of one of the largest Ukrainian aid organizations, said in an interview with SonntagsBlick: “Ukraine is facing a humanitarian disaster this winter. More than 300,000 people may be forced to leave the country.”
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Deaths despite hot war settlements
Eva Samolenko-Neiderer (40), from Wadenswil, who ran a children’s home in the Donbass town of Sloviansk until the Russian offensive, and who today provides humanitarian aid in the war zone through her association Segel der Hoffnung, told SonntagsBlick: “against the heavy fighting in the winter.” But especially many older people wake up one morning and say to themselves: I don’t like it anymore, I’m not going to get up now to get a new tree. Many of these people will not be found until next spring – dead.”
Many are beginning to understand the gravity of the situation. “Many cities in a war zone are unlivable in the winter months,” says Samolenko-Niederer. For example, in the city of Slozansk, only selected houses are heated, with many evacuees living together in a kind of war flat share. “However, like the 2014/2015 war, people will freeze. There will not be enough resources to save everyone.”
Party members will wake up
Stronger than tragic individual fates, Putin’s rocket terror is a wake-up effect away from the real frontline in pre-winter cities. Especially in Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipro cities where life is normal in the summer and autumn – including techno parties, shopping festivals and full gourmet restaurants – the constant power and heat failures make people suddenly feel again: Oh, there it is. War at my doorstep!
As winter sets in, Putin’s troops won’t have to fear only Ukrainian tank fleets rolling toward fragile Russian positions in the now-frozen mud fields of the Donbass. After all, they can expect a new wave of unity in the country, which will give more support to the Ukrainian soldiers who are loved.
“General Winter” is likely to take the side of the vanquished again in this battle.
Around Kherson: Ukrainian artillery shoots down Russian tanks(00:26)
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