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Kyiv mayor complains of ‘political dances’ after rebuke from Zelensky

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv Mayor and former heavyweight champion gestures while speaking during his interview with the Associated Press in his office in the City Hall in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. A Ukrainian official says street fighting has broken out in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv. Russian troops also put increasing pressure on strategic ports in the country’s south following a wave of attacks on airfields and fuel facilities elsewhere that appeared to mark a new phase of Russia’s invasion.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko appeared to criticize Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, accusing unnamed individuals of “political dances” after Zelensky called him out for lasting power outages in the city.

Klitschko said in a Telegram post that he was working quickly to restore power and heat to homes across Kyiv, but the fight over the restoration work “has already been given a political color.”

“Today, when everyone must work together, some political dances begin,” he wrote. “In Kyiv, we are doing everything we can for the life support of the capital, for the comfort of its residents. In difficult conditions.”

Zelensky on Friday criticized Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxer, for failing to set up emergency shelters fast enough. The Ukrainian leader also said 600,000 homes were without power and some residents were cut off for up to 30 hours.

“I expect quality work from the mayor’s office,” Zelensky said in his address. “Please be more serious.”

Russia bombarded Ukraine last week with a wave of missile strikes targeting critical infrastructure and power grids.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent attempt to weaponize winter — cutting off Ukrainians from electricity and water with brutal cold ahead — has been called a war crime and even “energy genocide.”

The missile attacks come after the Russian army’s heavy losses on the battlefield. The Washington Post reported Sunday that Moscow now controls 17 percent of Ukraine, less than at any point since April.

More than a hundred thousand people in 14 regions across Ukraine, including Kyiv, remain without power, according to Zelensky.

Klitschko said the city has provided more than 400 generators and another 100 were donated by volunteers and organizations, while hundreds of “heating points” are also open for residents to access heat and power.

“I do not want, especially in the current situation, to enter into political battles,” he wrote on Telegram. “It’s ridiculous. I have something to do.”

Tags Kyiv political dances power outages Ukraine Vitali Klitschko Vitali Klitschko Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky
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