Russian shelling and air strikes of Ukraine’s Luhansk region on the border between the two countries has left the area without basic utilities such as electricity and water and repairs are out of the question, the governor says.
Gov. Serhiy Haydai has said that a few power lines could be repaired but because of the unprecedented level of shelling, sometimes targeted at power stations and water delivery systems, repairs are impossible.
Gas pipes also have been targeted in the region, declared by separatists as a “people’s republic.” According to the most recent information, only 12,000 people still have access to gas. Instead of shelling gas lines, Haydai said, Russian forces have been tapping the lines to siphon it off.
“We’ve noticed that gas that runs through the ‘Soyuz’ gas pipeline has been redirected to areas of Luhansk and Donetsk that aren’t controlled by Ukraine,” Haydai wrote on his Telegram account. “We’re talking about the ‘independent republics.’ This is theft.”
Water has been targeted by Russian attacks. On Sunday, shells struck a key water purification facility in Popasnyansk.
“Russians damaged the substation building and the open switchgear with transformers at one of the cleaning stations,” he said.
Haydai proceeded to list 12 municipalities and villages that have been cut off from water delivery as a result.
One way around it is delivering water by vehicles. Two drivers from Ukraine’s State Emergency Services tried. Then, they disappeared.
On May 4, Denis Kolotilov and Henadiy Muratov took a fire truck filled with water to the village of Nizhnye. Sometime during lunch, midday, both stopped answering phone calls or texts. A search mission yielded no results. Both men and the car disappeared without a trace.
Word of a dire situation has not reached much beyond the region, with key highways having been bombed and mobile phone service also virtually wiped out.
One key highway that has been made mostly impassable by bombing is the Lisichansk-Bakhmut, or “road of life” as some officials have dubbed it because of its role in evacuating and delivering aid.
Bakhmut is a small town in the Donetsk region that was the first point for evacuees before they could be safely transported to western Ukraine.
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