Conflicts & War

Generating heat, power for Ukraine’s frontline troops

By Rostyslav Averchuk

Lviv, Ukraine, Dec 16 (EFE).- Volunteers in Lviv defy the cold and power cuts as they hurry to repair and send hundreds of power generators to the frontlines, where soldiers need them badly not only for minimal comfort but to ensure that modern war technologies can be used efficiently.

While businesses and households have rushed to purchase the devices only in the last few months, Roman and his father Myroslav have been busy repairing, assembling, and sending generators to the frontlines from the very beginning of the invasion.

“While for most civilians electricity supply is often a question of comfort, for the soldiers it can be a matter of survival,” Roman tells Efe.

He explains that drones and thermal vision devices, key for detecting the enemy and directing the battle in modern warfare, need reliable access to electricity.

“Imagine having a car but no fuel for it. It’s the same with various military devices, even of a more advanced nature,” he says.

“This generator was given to us to be repaired by an artillery unit of the army. Another one works to power a mobile bath unit for soldiers,” adds Myroslav, while showing Efe around the yard that has been converted into a makeshift storage site.

A small bus is housing eight generators freshly arrived from Avdiivka in the eastern region of Donetsk, where a fierce battle has been going on for months.

“They needed to be ready ‘yesterday’,” Myroslav says.

“Sometimes soldiers arrive at night, tired, in their muddy uniforms and dented cars. Of course, we help them for free and as quickly as we can,” adds Roman.

Myroslav and Roman often find themselves working from early morning to late evening, rarely with a day off. They work outside, in temperatures below zero, as the generators and tools fill most of the available space.

Most of the work is manual, so regular power cuts do not stop it. A LED lamp, powered by makeshift batteries, provides enough light to keep working after sunset.

The most important hurdle is that commercial generators are often ill-suited to the demanding nature of their use on the frontline.

“Some have elements of questionable quality while others are very sensitive to any mistakes by users, which are frequent in the hectic conditions in the trenches,” explains Roman.

Mud, dirt, and water are a constant threat, as well as fragments of the enemy’s shells.

Still, both the military and the volunteers are happy to get anything they can get their hands on amid the skyrocketing demand for generators in a country hit by nationwide blackouts due to Russian attacks.

Roman regularly asks other volunteers to donate broken or even low-quality generators so that he can repair or assemble new better-quality devices from them or use parts to repair the generators delivered from the frontline.

“Anything too complex breaks down quickly. We simplify the generators we get and make them reliable and simple to use for soldiers who have little taste for details while focusing on staying alive,” explains Roman.

Together with generators, the volunteers also provide short and simple instructions for the soldiers, as well as some tools and oil needed to prolong their service.EFE


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