Groups of volunteers strive so that the Ukrainian troops do not run out of electricity despite the repeated bombardments of Russia
- Straight War in Ukraine, last hour
Groups of Lepolis volunteers brave cold and power outages as they rush to repair and send hundreds of power generators to the front lines. Soldiers urgently need them not only for minimal living conditions, but also for modern warfare technologies, which depend on electricity, to work effectively.
Businesses and homes have started stocking up on appliances in recent months, but Roman and his father Myroslav have been repairing, assembling, and sending generators to the front lines since the beginning of the invasion. “For civilians, the electricity supply is usually above all a matter of comfort, while for soldiers it is a matter of survival,” Roman told EFE.
Remember that drones and thermal vision devices, keys to detecting the enemy and orienting the battle in modern warfare, need a secure electrical connection. “Imagine having a car but not having fuel for it. The same goes for various military devices, even the most innovative ones,” he says.
“This generator was given to us for an army artillery unit. That other one to feed a mobile bathroom for the soldiers,” adds Myroslav, as he shows the yard turned into a makeshift warehouse.
A small bus is carrying eight generators recently arrived from Avdiivka, in Donetsk, where fierce battles have been waged for months. “They had to be ready for ‘yesterday,'” Myroslav stresses to highlight the urgency of the request, one of many coming as the country struggles to repel the invasion.
“Sometimes the soldiers come to us at night, tired, with their uniforms stained with mud, their car dented. Of course, we help them for free and as fast as we can,” says Roman.
Myroslav and Roman usually work from early morning until late at night, rarely having a day off. They work outdoors and below freezing, as generators and tools take up most of the available space.
Most of his work is manual; power outages don’t stop him. An LED lamp, powered by makeshift batteries, provides enough light to continue his work after sunset.. The biggest hurdle is that commercial generators are often inadequate for front-line technical imperatives.
“Some meet questionable quality standards, others are very sensitive to any user error, which is common in the precarious conditions of the trench,” explains Roman. Mud, dirt, and water are a constant threat, as are enemy shell fragments.
Still, both the military and volunteers are happy to get whatever they can amid soaring demand for generators in the country ravaged by national blackouts.
Roman often asks other volunteers to give him broken or even substandard generators to repair or assemble with them new more useful devices or use their spare parts for the generators sent from the front.
“Anything too complex breaks down quickly. We simplified the generators we received and made them easier for soldiers to use, who can’t worry about the details while trying to stay alive,” Roman explains.
Along with the generators, the volunteers also give brief and simple instructions to the soldiers, some tools and the necessary oil for their maintenance in service. Myroslav shows a 72-year-old generator, once used by the US military, while stressing that the troops need specific and reliable generators.
Like so many other volunteers, Myroslav and Roman are doing everything in their power to help the army, despite the feeling that they should have acted sooner. “You have to be prepared for a war like this,” Myroslav says.
However, father and son are convinced that Russia will not achieve the surrender of Ukraine with the strategy of trying to “freeze” it by destroying civilian infrastructure with its missiles and drones. “No way!” Roman exclaims emphatically, as he returns to his tasks.
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