ERR in Ukraine: Supplies to Kyiv increasingly getting cut off

Central Kyiv.
Central Kyiv. Source: Erik Peinar/riigikogu

Food and fuel supplies to Ukraine's capital Kyiv, are running low, while functioning stores are getting harder to find or access, ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev says.

Aleksejev told ETV morning show "Terevisioon" Thursday that: "I would like to say that the night has passed peacefully, but four major explosions actually took place."

Kyiv was under curfew at the time Aleksejev was talking to "Terevisioon". "As soon as the curfew ends, we'll go out to see what has happened. We will probably have to go on foot, as there is no petrol station in the city, and the gas stations are closed," he said.

Supplies to central Kyiv have been disrupted, making it hard to find stores or pharmacies which are open, and while some foodstuffs such as dumplings were available, others, such as bread, were not. While suburbs still have functioning stores, getting there is difficult given that pitched battles are now taking place at street level, Aleksejev said.

"Yesterday, for example, we tried to go to the north of the city where the column is, but after seriously considering how much fuel we had, we had to give it up," he went on.

ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev is in Kyiv. Source: ERR

On Wednesday, Aleksejev had reported from the scene of the aftermath of one particular missile strike in Kyiv, in which five people had been killed and five more injured. "The war is just beginning, so we will likely see more images like that," Aleksejev told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK).

One Kyiv resident told Alekseyev that they: "Have parents at home, who need to cook, and to buy medicine. Where should I hide? We have a bomb shelter, but that's a long way to go, with all that stuff. How will I get there?"

Another local, Olga, was waiting in line at a store and said to Alekseyev: "You are asking why we are relatively calm about the air disturbance? We are likely gradually getting used to it. We call on everyone to help Ukraine in any way they can," said Olga, who was standing in line. 

Another resident implored the wider world to: "Help our people end the war so that Ukraine and the entire civilized world can win."

A priest at a nearby Orthodox church said that the work of distributing food parcels was ongoing, in spite of nearby burnt-out vehicles and a bus riddled with bullet holes, the result of fighting on Tuesday after an invading column had temporarily broken through.

Over 40 people are taking shelter in the churches' basement, half of them children, he added.

Overall, Wednesday had been relatively calm in the Ukrainian capital, Aleksejev told AK, noting that the half-dozen air raid warnings were not disturbing people as much as they had done earlier – with many still lining up in queues at stores as air-raid warnings take place.

Another disturbing development, Aleksejev reported, was Russian military personnel misusing "Press" labels on their clothing or helmets during diversionary operations on the banks of the Dnieper River, in the north of the capital. This had the effect of placing legitimate journalists under suspicion among the wider populace, he said.

Western city of Rivne mobilizes volunteers aid for the war effort

Meanwhile ERR correspondent Astrid Kannel reported for AK from the western Ukrainan city of Rivne, where she said people from various walks of life have been mobilized in support of the defenders' military effort.

Road signs on the highways running through the cucumber and tomato fields which lie between the city and the town of Lutsk, around 70km to the west have been taken down, to throw off the invaders, while Kannel's driver shows her photos of his small children, who had been taken over the border to to Poland to shelter there.

Arriving in Rivne, Kannel is greeted with an air raid warning siren, augmented by Orthodox church bells tolling for the same reason.

The city came under fire on day two of the invasion, when the international airport was hit by missile strike. Rivne is at an important highway intersection, and a major chemicals plant is located there.

Local resident Yuri Shirko tells her that: "By profession, I am an actor in the theater here, and also a TV presenter, and director of most of important celebrations which take place in the city. Or at least that was the case in my previous life, now I am a volunteer."

The theater has been transformed into a volunteer headquarters, where ordinary city residents bring things to the front, for refugees and for anyone in need.

ERR correspondent Astrid Kannel is in Rivne. Source: ERR

Should Kyiv fall, Shirko said that the capital: "Is the heart of Ukraine, but western Ukraine is the soul of Ukraine. And in this land, the people are finally standing in front of them."

Meanwhile, ballerinas and others at the theater are busy cutting up materials from the theater's stock, to send them to the soldiers at the front.

Local Journalist Pavlo Shamshyn tells Kannel he has heard rumors that Russian special forces had brought former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych to the Belarusian capital, Minsk, with a view to installing him as a pro-Russian puppet leader after the conflict – a scenario Shamshyn said was inconceivable, although: "Actually, we are very much waiting for him. He must be held responsible for what he did in 2013 and 2014. So come on, Vikror Fyodorovich, come on, we are very much waiting for you here."


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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