The management of the cold confronts Zelensky and the mayor of kyiv |  International

The management of the cold confronts Zelensky and the mayor of kyiv | International

The complicated management of the winter that the Ukrainian authorities are facing has generated a controversy between President Volodimir Zelensky and the mayor of the capital, Vitali Klichko. It is unusual for this to happen in a country that, when the Russian invasion began on February 24, decided to put aside internal differences and tacitly postpone domestic political disputes until after the armed conflict. This was made clear by the mayor, a political rival of the current head of state, in an interview with EL PAÍS last September.

The first mayor of kyiv responded this Sunday to the accusations leveled against him by the president of not having the necessary emergency shelters ready in the city to care for the population. “I don’t want, especially in the current situation, to get into political battles. It’s ridiculous,” Klichkó said this Sunday in a message posted on Telegram. Although he did not directly allude to Zelensky, it is an angry and direct response to his accusations. “There is no need to manipulate!” He went on to say while he lamented the image they are giving both internally and internationally when everyone should be working together without political disputes.

To defend himself, the mayor offered details of the deployment that the municipal authorities have carried out these days in kyiv. He referred to the existence of more than 430 heating points already installed and operating in a city where, moreover, “we are preparing to rapidly deploy more than 100 points in case of emergency.” In order to keep them running, more than 400 generators have been distributed and another 100 have been provided by volunteers and charities, he said. On the other hand, the mayor added, 12 mobile modular boiler rooms will soon arrive in kyiv, which will help strengthen the heating infrastructure.

Klichkó assures that on Saturday he was reviewing the establishment of that network of winter shelters and met the authorities in charge of the deployment. “They tell me in a private conversation that all the points where visits were made are open and working. And then they post some incomprehensible photos, ”he laments.

The current electricity production in the country is enough to satisfy almost 80% of the needs of users, the state operator Ukrenergo reported this Sunday. In the last hours, the capital has seen how the repairs have restored the supply of electricity and water to almost all its inhabitants. The restrictions remain, however, in 14 of the 24 regions of the country. A thousand technicians work daily to repair the damage caused by the Russian attacks, according to Prime Minister Denis Shmihal. He has also reported that Ukrenergo will receive 372 million euros from the Netherlands and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to continue with these repair work. Ukraine will also receive electric generators as part of an aid program from the European Union.

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Zelenski announced last Tuesday the implementation of a network of more than 4,300 shelters scattered throughout the country so that the population can face the harsh winter. 50% of the infrastructures in Ukraine have been damaged since a month and a half ago Moscow began to concentrate a good part of its attacks on them with the aim of leaving the population without electricity, water and heating at the gates of winter. The president referred several times throughout the week to this network of reception points, while he recalled that up to six million people lived without electricity on Friday.

That same day, Zelensky took advantage of his nightly address every day to charge against Klichkó. In a clear slap on the mayor’s wrist, he said that in kyiv there were “many complaints” regarding the establishment of such places for the attention of citizens. He accused him of not having them ready after he had been announcing them for several days. The president, yes, saved those who are the responsibility of the Emergency Services and the central train station from burning. “The people of kyiv deserve better care,” snapped the president.

The Russian invasion that began on February 24 had so far managed to put aside internal differences. Everyone had closed ranks around Zelenski, despite the fact that the former television comedian was not going through his best moments since he was comfortably elected at the polls in 2019.

Klichkó, ​​who made the leap into politics after being world heavyweight boxing champion, is one of the current president’s political rivals. Faithful to the most nationalist postulates, he saw in Zelenski an opportunist who took the reins of the country thanks to his popularity on television, but who, in reality, was someone conciliatory with Moscow due to the business interests he had deployed in the neighboring country. “My opinion is that now, during the war, is not the time to talk about mistakes. If the war ends, then we will be able to talk about all of them”, affirms Klichkó in the interview with this newspaper.

To the surprise of many, Zelensky has firmly held the reins of Ukraine throughout this war and did not run away when the Russian army arrived at the gates of kyiv right after the invasion began.

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