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Russia fails on the battlefield, so it resorts to “death, starvation and hypothermia”

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Interior of Invincibility Point in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Maria Kostenko/CNN)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on local authorities, including in the capital of Kyiv, to do more to build his government’s much-heralded “points of invincibility” – which are pop-up resorts offering shelter and services, such as electric charging facilities, internet hookups and hot water.

The government announced its intention to provide emergency aid to civilians struggling with electricity and heating last week, just days before the latest series of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure led to new significant disturbances.

But in his Friday evening speech, Zelensky criticized the rollout of the program, particularly in the capital, where he said only points deployed at the station and at state emergency service facilities were working properly.

“Other points still need to be improved, to put it mildly,” he added. “The people of Kyiv need more protection.”

Visit “Invincibility Points”: CNN teams visited three of the resource centers announced by the government in the Ukrainian capital. Two of them, both managed by SES, were working, while a third located in a school was not.

At one location, in the Obolonskyi neighborhood north of the city, CNN spoke to Tetiana, who said her apartment had been without power or heating for more than 50 hours. During this time, she had also been deprived of mobile phone service.

“We saw this (‘Invincibility) Point’ on the map and decided to give it a try,” she said.

Tetiana, left, and Larysa inside an invincibility point in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Tetiana, left, and Larysa inside an invincibility point in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Maria Kostenko/CNN)

Sitting at a simple desk along one side of the roughly 30 square meter (about 323 square foot) tent, its sides padded for warmth, she told us she was happy to be able to log on again. Her employer makes souvenirs and the upcoming holiday season is always a busy time, she said. “The internet is great here; I can do my job,” she said.

Another resident, Larysa, was also impressed with the Wi-Fi available at the same site as it allowed her to reconnect to social media.

“The Internet is fast; I’m finally on TikTok,” she laughed, adding, “I’m looking for a job because I’m from Lviv. I recently moved to Kyiv.

A resident named Oleksiy told CNN he had also been without power at home for more than two days and was also using the internet to look for work.

“I have a wife and two children, aged 5 months and 9 years old, at home. I won’t bring my children here because it’s a long walk, but I will definitely come back here,” he said.

Those interviewed for this post declined to provide their last names to CNN.

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