Special gifts, including letters and paintings from school children in Kyiv, were driven to an outpost in the war-torn south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia over the Christmas weekend – and were warmly received.

 

The letters expressed messages of hope and solidarity, including lines such as “Come back alive,” “Stop the war,” “Everything will be Ukraine,” and “We support peace.”

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Photo Credit: Kyiv Post.

The Zaporizhzhia region has been a constant focus of concern during the ongoing war waged by Russia against Ukraine, particularly due to one of its cities, Enerhodar, being the location of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

 

On the night of Mar. 3, a column of 10 Russian armored vehicles and two tanks approached the power plant, capturing it after two hours of heavy fighting.

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Since then, Enerhodar and Zaporizhzhia have experienced relentless Russian strikes, damaging local infrastructure and placing the nuclear power plant under grave risk. 

 

On Oct. 23, Enerhodar’s mayor, Dmytro Orlov, told reporters that the city was “on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” amid ongoing fierce Russian shelling destroying civilian infrastructure and power grids.

 

“The city remains without electricity and without water supply. Gas has not been available in most parts of the city for almost six months,” he added.

Photo credit: Kyiv Post

According to the mayor, the city has “a centralized heating system that has not been working since spring,” emphasizing that the system relies on the nearby nuclear power plant, “several units of which are in cold shutdown mode, and several units under repair.”

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“There are currently no prospects for starting a heating season, the city is in danger of not starting the heating season at all,” he stressed. 

 

Over the Christmas weekend, Kyiv Post visited Zaporizhzhia during a humanitarian trip led by Ukrainian Member of Parliament Sviatoslav Yurash. The team found that many villages were still without electricity, heating, or running water. Furthermore, blackouts that continue to occur across Ukraine appeared to last far longer in the center of Zaporizhzhia than in other parts of the country, such as Kyiv.

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Soldiers continue to defend Ukrainian villages, towns, and cities, with many stationed in outposts along the front line. Bringing them food, water, hygiene products and small wrapped presents to accompany the paintings and messages, Yurash’s team were thanked by the soldiers on duty and were presented with their own gift – a military backpack from a captured Russian soldier.

 

Meanwhile, Kyiv Post observed a local protestant priest delivering a prayer to villagers before vital supplies were distributed via a community leader.

 

Last week, Russian troops attacked the Zaporizhzhia region no less than 590 times, Regional Military Administration Head Oleksandr Starukh confirmed during a briefing at Media Center Ukraine on Dec. 27, including 51 times in a single day.

 

“About 150 objects were destroyed, including a school and energy infrastructure facilities,” Starukh said.

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Photo Credit: Kyiv Post

On Christmas Eve, in Zaporizhzhia’s Polohy District, a 40-year-old woman was killed when Russian shelling hit her home.

 

“The Polohy district’s settlements remain under extensive enemy fire,” the Main Department of the National Police of Ukraine confirmed in a statement. “Civilian houses are suffering in Orikhiv, Huliaipole and adjacent villages.

 

“Additionally, a historical building was hit in the district center of the Huliaipole united territorial community. Shell fragments caused damage to facades and the roof.”

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