Late Tuesday afternoon, Ilyas Verdiev looked out from his Kyiv apartment across an inky black neighborhood.
He knew that the dark and the cold were not a unique experience for him.
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For weeks, millions of people in the Ukrainian capital have grown accustomed to living with blackouts caused by airstrikes on the country’s electrical infrastructure.
But on Tuesday, with winter approaching, Russia struck again, this time launching its biggest airstrike in one day. For the first time, Ilyas’s apartment block was plunged into darkness.
“I’m filming this after four hours of air strike,” he explains in the latest edition of the Sky News Ukraine War Diaries podcast.
“And it has been reported that more than 100 missiles have been launched on Ukrainian territory. I’m back home, upstairs in my apartment and there is no light.
“There’s no light in my block, no electricity. But it’s okay. I have candles. I was prepared, and the blocks around me look dark too, so it’s been huge.”
The latest attack followed the symbolic liberation of the fiercely contested eastern city of Kherson. But at the same time, according to Ukrainian officials, the strikes have further reduced Ukraine’s capacity to produce power to around 60%.
And significantly, this week Ukraine received its first snow cover on top of freezing temperatures for the first time this season.
“We assume that these missile attacks will continue to cut off our heat supply,” explains military volunteer Seva Koshel.
“I don’t know… do the Russians think… we’ll give up just because we run out of heat and electricity?”
As uncomfortable as Tuesday’s Russian counterattack was, Ilyas’s thoughts, like Seva’s, quickly turned to the enemy soldiers who will not only have to live with the cold and snow, but will also have to fight, with few resources and far from home.
“I expect most of the Russian soldiers to freeze during the Ukrainian winter,” says Ilyas.
“Winter is coming and it’s going to be cold, and the Ukrainian soldiers are very well supplied and very well prepared for that.
“The belief in the Ukrainian soldiers never diminishes and only becomes more and more powerful.”
Seva continues: “[I] we have had some conversations with our [soldiers]. And as I always say, and as I always hear from them, we are totally positive. We await our victory.
“These missile attacks are actually [the] Russian response to our successes at the front, for the occupation of Kherson, for the occupation of some small towns in the Lugansk region.
“They can’t do anything on the battlefield [so] they just hit the infrastructure of the country.
“Of course it is totally uncomfortable to live in those conditions, but I think it is our price for freedom, for democracy and for [the] survival of our nation. So we’ll handle it.”
From the creators of the award-winning Sky News StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast that follows those living on Europe’s new front and those who have fled it.
Producer: Robert Mulhern
Digital promotion and additional writing: David Chipakupaku