Written by Joanna Sowińska
Crucial hydraulic infrastructure in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih was severely damaged on Thursday 14th of September after a series of Russian strikes in the region illustrating Russia’s increasingly erratic tactics in the Russian-Ukrainian war.
According to Ukrinform, the Russians then launched a total of 13 cruise missiles over 3 days resulting in the partial destruction of key water systems, on which local Ukrainian entities have been working day and night to investigate and eliminate the generated problems.
One of them was the destruction of Kryvyi Rih’s dam, which caused the river to rise above 2.5m and flood a significant number of households.
The bombing was shocking for the population, as the region did not experience any major attack from the beginning of the war; taking the locals aback.
Deni Kostiantynovic (19yo), a Kryvyi Rih resident, was doing homework on Thursday evening when he heard three strong explosions.
While being interviewed on Friday, Kostiantynovic interrupts at 14:06 (CEST): “our city is under missile attack again! Just heard one more hit!”. Air raid alarms shrilled shortly after.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed this operation to be a terrorist tactic of the Russian army to flood Kryvyi Rih in order to harm civilians while disrupting the success of Kherson’s counteroffensive and recovered Ukrainian territories.
In fact, the Ukrainians have recently recovered a significant amount of territories, which caused great anger to the Russian government; provoking Russia’s retaliatory strikes on civilian infrastructure, including energy buildings.
Nostalgic of her wedding pictures taken by the dam, Maryna Mudryk (38yo), a resident, condemns the atrocity of Russian acts. “The damages are priceless, not only emotionally but they clearly targeted civilians […] This is just inhumane.”, Mudryk claims.
The Ukrainian foreign minister Kuleba emphasizes the nature of the attacks as being war crimes and acts of terror in an official statement – stressing once again the illegitimate targetting of civilians in opposition to military objects.
While the situation is now described as “under control” by Kostiantynovic and Mudryk; one can picture great future concerns. This includes the generated environmental catastrophe caused by the bombings and the well-considered strategy of the Russians to strike in the region.
Olena Maloivan (20yo), a student in Kyiv who’s family is in Kryvyi Rih, is very concerned about potential future strikes.
“Kryvyi Rih is one of the most industrialized cities in Ukraine, with industries using significant amounts of chemicals. An uncontrolled release of chemicals due to war would have disastrous consequences” Maloivan said.
Local authorities, however, did not report any major incidents involving chemicals and claim that most leaks have been taken under control.
With Putin’s objective to “De-Nazify Ukraine”, Russia strongly purses the attacks to overturn the effects of what was called an “eight years genocide by Ukraine”.
While allegedly destroying the Ukrainian infrastructure including bridges, the Russian army also restrained itself in regards to the logistics of their planned invasion. A factor that certainly brings much needed hope to Kryvyi Rih citizens and Ukrainians.
Nevertheless, the Ukrainian city which has recently experienced the destruction of its crucial water systems is now repeatedly exposed to important war damages.
On October 2nd, the Russian army attacked a school with a kamikaze drone in Kryvyi Rih , adding it to the list of destroyed educational institutions from the beginning of the war.
The Russian kamikaze drone flew into the city after midnight, as stated on Telegram by Reznichenko, the Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
Reznichenko claims that the drone proceeded to strike the school in the middle of the building which caught fire shortly after. While two floors collapsed, the firefighters successfully combated the flames and extinguished the fire on Sunday morning.
More educational institutions have been destroyed or damaged in Ukraine in the last 100 days than in the first seven years since the hostilities started in 2014.
According to Save Schools, 2292 schools have been damaged and 309 fully destroyed from the beginning of the war.
“War is not a pandemic. Even online, you have to comply with safety rules as soon as an alert begins,” Kostiantynovyc says.
The Russian-Ukrainian war thus remains a conflict to be closely monitored, as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on the 21st of September the partial military mobilization of people with military experience as a strong response to the West, as he claims that the “West’s goal is to weaken, divide and eventually destroy Russia”.
Edited by Uilson Jones, artwork by Chira Tudoran