The Malta Independent 28 May 2023, Sunday
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Kharkiv residents without water and electricity for over two months

Neil Camilleri and Liza Kozlenko Wednesday, 18 May 2022, 10:06 Last update: about 2 years ago

Neil Camilleri and Liza Kozlenko, reporting from Kharkiv in Ukraine

Several residents of Kharkiv, particularly those living in the city’s hard-hit Saltivka district, have been living without water and electricity for over two months.

The Malta Independent’s team in Ukraine spoke to a number of residents whose apartment block was shelled by the Russians a few weeks ago and who have been forced to live in their basement and in the garden outside.


Living without any source of energy or heating means that they have to cook their meals on open fires in the area in front of their apartment block, and during the night they sleep in the dank basements in the faint light of a single candle.

The Ukrainian army has pushed the Russians out of the eastern city, but heavy fighting still rages on in several small villages some 10 kilometers away. The rumble of distant artillery can be heard throughout the day in Kharkiv.

The Saltivka district was hit particularly hard by Russian artillery and Grad rockets and many residential areas have become uninhabitable. The buildings are pockmarked with rocket strikes, the areas around them strewn with debris. Most cars have been damaged beyond repair and severed electricity cables hang perilously over the streets.  

Some buildings were hit by aerial bombs or cruise missiles and have collapsed.

“We take our water from a well. We have been without water and electricity for over two months, since the start of the war,” Zoya Fedorivna Apatchenko, 82, told The Malta Independent.

She explained that her birthday was on 23 February, one day before war broke out.

“My flat has been partially destroyed. My neighbour’s balcony fell from the eight floor onto my balcony on the seventh floor. I am scared that there might still be unexploded munitions inside and the military has advised me not to enter her apartment. Currently, there is no one who can repair the damage.”

On most nights she sleeps in the basement together with her neighbours.” It is so bad without electricity because we have only one candle, which is not enough.”

“We come out early in the morning and sit on the bench. We cannot rest. We have this community here. We spend time together until 8pm,” she continued, adding that volunteers bring humanitarian aid.

Zoya said she hopes with all her heart that the war will end soon.  “We ask everyone to help us end the war.”

Her sentiment is shared by other members of her community, who are only too eager to return to some semblance of normality, and a decent place to live in.


Photos: Giuseppe Attard and Alex Zakletsky

Our team in Ukraine would like to thank the following companies for their support:

GO - for providing them with unlimited mobile data.

Moneybase, Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors, APS Bank , EY Malta, Multi Packaging Limited for providing financial support.


The Malta Police Force for providing the team with protective equipment.


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