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How Ukrainians have reacted to Russia's massive attack

Daria Nynko
October 12, 2022

For many Ukrainians, October 10 was a reminder of February 24, when Russia began shelling cities across the country. This time, however, people are responding differently.

A couple kiss by a rocket crater in a park of central Kyiv
Seeking shelter in a subway station in Kharkiv on MondayImage: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

There was no panic when the Russian Federation carried out a massive missile attack across Ukraine on Monday morning. Though many Ukrainians did feel reminded of the February day when the Russian army began its invasion with early morning missile strikes, this time no one fled. "Ukraine cannot be intimidated, and Ukrainians united even more instead," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukraine canot be intimidated, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video messageImage: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP/picture alliance/dpa

"You have angered Ukrainians" — Serhiy Prytula, a Ukrainian TV presenter and Serhij Sternenko, an activist, sent a clear message of solidarity just hours after the massive shelling began by announcing a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for weapons for the Ukrainian army. They were joined by Ihor Lachenkov, a popular Ukrainian blogger. The outcome exceeded all expectations. Within just seven minutes, Ukrainians had transferred the equivalent of about €27,000 ($26,200) to the designated account. According to Sternenko, about €9.7 million were collected in just one day. The money has been earmarked to purchase of Ukrainian kamikaze RAM II UAV drones.

Damaged power lines

Ukrainians also followed calls by the authorities to save electricity, a measure that became necessary because the massive Russian missile attack hit infrastructure in 11 regions across the country and in the capital Kyiv. The authorities set about repairing the damage as quickly as possible and asked the population to cut back on the use of household appliances during peak hours from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. People in Kyiv and the surrounding areas complied, with power consumption reduced by more than a quarter compared to an ordinary autumn day, Ukrenergo reported later that evening.

According to the electricity company, the total capacity of electrical appliances that consumers did not turn on during those hours voluntarily is equivalent to the capacity of more than 93,000 kettles or 46,000 washing machines. "That helped avoid overloading the functioning power grids and allowed the control center to balance the power grid during the most difficult time of the day," the company said. People were encouraged to continue reducing their consumption in the evening and to use power-hungry electrical appliances only during the day or at night-time.

Berlin condemns Russian attacks

Prompt repairs

Despite the constant threat of new missile attacks, all repairs are carried out as quickly as possible. Dnipro mayor Borys Filatov reported that an important section of road in the city had been repaired overnight. "Yesterday and today. We gritted our teeth and worked all night. Pipelines, road surfaces and signs, communication networks, and trees. Let the bastards die. We will repair and rebuild everything. But our hatred will live on for centuries. I bow to my co-workers and the workers of the municipal utilities," Filatov wrote on Telegram, posting "before and after" photos of the road.

Intersection under water with burnt out cars in daylight
The Ukrainian capital was rocked by explosions after months of relative calmImage: Adam Schreck/AP Photo/picture alliance

In Kyiv, Taras Shevchenko Boulevard was reopened to traffic during the morning hours of October 11, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office. He said on Telegram that the important intersection of the boulevard that had been hit by a Russian missile the previous day had been repaired in just a few hours.

Songs, memes

The attacks on October 10 triggered an air alert of more than five and a half hours in Kyiv. It was the first time in months that citizens had to shelter in metro stations for so long, and a video showing some of them singing songs for encouragement quickly went viral.

Russia launches new missile strikes on Ukraine

People have not lost their sense of humor, either. The Russian bombing of a popular pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Kyiv, known as the Klitschko Bridge in honor of Mayor Vitali Klitschko, has been the source of many jokes. Ukrainians have made fun of the fact that the bridge, which also serves as an observation deck, was targeted in the first place. They are even more amused by the fact that a bridge partly made of glass panels seems to have held up, unlike the Kerch Bridgethat links Russia to the Crimean Peninsula and was partly damaged by an explosion on October 8.

More seriously, however, Russia's massive missile attacks, which continued on October 11, have once again made people aware of the need to pay attention to air alerts and to seek out bunkers or find shelter in safe parts of buildings.

This article was originally written in Ukrainian.