Ukraine evacuates cities that have become uninhabitable with no heating or power

Ukrainians have been warned to brace themselves for a ‘life-threatening’ winter after Russian artillery strikes left millions without power and hospitals unable to function properly.

President Volodymyr Zelensky used his nightly address to urge people to conserve energy, particularly in hard-hit areas such as Kyiv, Vinnytsia in the southwest, Sumy in the north and Odesa on the Black Sea.

Authorities have begun evacuating residents from recently liberated parts of Kherson and Mykolaiv, fearing the lack of heat, power and water will make living conditions too difficult.

The World Health Organisation delivered a chilling warning about the energy crisis’ human impact.

Dr Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said: ‘This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine.

‘Attacks on health and energy infrastructure mean hundreds of hospitals and healthcare facilities are no longer fully operational, lacking fuel, water and electricity.’

Sergey Kovalenko, the head of YASNO, which provides energy for Kyiv, said the daily rolling blackouts across the country are likely to last until at least March.

‘Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about options that will help you wait a long outage,’ he added. ‘It’s better to do it now than to be miserable.’

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said people living in Kherson can apply to be moved to areas where security and heating issues are less severe.

In a Telegram message for residents – especially the elderly, women with children and those who are ill or disabled – she wrote that the government will provide transportation, accommodations and medical care for them.

The evacuations are taking place more than a week after Ukraine recaptured the city of Kherson, on the western bank of the Dnieper River, and surrounding areas in a major battlefield gain.

Since then, heading into the winter, residents and authorities alike are realizing how much power and other infrastructure the Russians damaged or destroyed before retreating.

Ukraine is known for its brutal winter weather, and snow has already covered Kyiv, the capital, and other parts of the country.

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