The Ukrainian government’s much-vaunted “Points of Invincibility” are still not operational in one of Kyiv’s largest residential districts hit hardest by Russia’s ongoing missile attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure.
Announced by President Zelensky on Nov. 22, the 4,000 shelters across the country are supposed to provide shelter for residents as they deal with blackouts and disruption to water supply and heating.
A press release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Nov.24 stressed they “will operate around the clock and free of charge,” adding, “We are reminding that the Points of Invincibility provide heat, water, lighting, mobile communication, internet, power for mobile devices, places for rest, first aid kits, basic supplies for mothers and children.”
But in Teremky, one of Kyiv’s largest residential districts and home to more than 20,000 people, three places designated an “Points of Invincibility” were not open when a Kyiv Post reporter visited on Tuesday, Nov.29.
Teremky remained blacked out for 48 hours after the latest massive missile strike on Nov. 23 and as of Nov. 30, power was only supplied for three to four hours per day amid serious problems with telecommunications.
The location of the Points of Invincibility can be found on a special website and three are shown in Teremky, all of them located in schools. There are also three smaller help points shown on the website, which are supposed to only provide charging for electronic devices. Two are located in gas-filling stations and a third in an apartment block.
Kyiv Post asked a number of people in the area if they knew of the Points of Invincibility, but none knew where they were located.
Finding them is difficult as there are no directional signs and ongoing issues with telecommunications in the district. As a result, many residents have to go to the subway station where stable cell phone and internet services are available.
None of three schools were open as Points of Invincibility, despite displaying signs advertising them as such outside. A security guard at one said: “Classes are on, so we can’t open the point because children can’t have classes with a crowd next door.” A similar response was given at the two other schools by security guards there.
They also told Kyiv Post that the sign plates were set on the gate by workers of the Kyiv City Administration, who knew from the start that shelters housed in schools could not operate properly.
At the two gas-filling stations there were facilities to charge phones but Kyiv Post could not find any facilities at the apartment building.
The Mayor of Kyiv’s office has been repeatedly approached for comment by Kyiv Post but at the time of writing had yet to provide a response.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote in a post on Telegram on Nov.27 that in Kyiv all 430 Points of Invincibility were working and there were plans to install around 100 more.
Points of Invincibility are operational in other areas of Kyiv and across Ukraine. On Nov. 26, MP David Arakhamia, leader of the president’s Servant of the People faction, claimed that 530 points were already in service in Kyiv but his personal inspection found 20 percent of them were not properly providing services.
The central government has also called into question the operation of Points of Invincibility in Kyiv, and the President’s Office said openly that the capital’s invincibility points were the worst prepared.
Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko has accused Zelensky’s team of political persecution and claims that all Points of Invincibility in the city are open and working.