Batteries are Ukraine’s secret weapon against Russia

At the end of last year, eQualitie started crowdfunding to buy batteries for some smaller ISPs in Ukraine. With the money raised, they were able to buy 172 batteries from Poland – the shipment weighed about 6.5 tons. Some of those batteries went to a small ISP in Chernihiv, which serves hundreds of large residential buildings in the north-central Ukrainian city. “Having only five batteries received within this donation means that tens of thousands of Chernihiv residents will stay connected,” said Moroz — residents like Valeria Shashenok.

“The issue of connectivity is not very clear to everyone,” said Moroz the morning after another spate of airstrikes on the country’s energy grid. “For example, Ukrainians have apps or websites where they can follow all air raid alerts, which can happen almost daily.”

Internet and mobile services in Ukraine are surprisingly good, even by US standards. Moroz points out that Ukrainians can get download speeds of about 100 megabytes per second for about $8 a month. “People now need instant information. They want to know what’s going on right now,” he says. “So accessing the internet…means security for people. It means being connected to their family and friends.”

Staying connected also means staying hopeful.

When the Ukrainian army liberated Izium, which is near the border with Dontesk, they also freed the inhabitants from Russian propaganda – the only source of news for many in the city. “They thought that Kharkiv was also surrounded by Russians. And it was under Russian control, which is not true,” says Moroz.

“So all of this, the combined efforts to keep Ukraine connected, is because everyone understands that Russia’s ultimate goal is to demoralize citizens — because if citizens are demoralized, the government loses support,” says Moroz. “Instead, it’s the opposite. Citizens realize that they may have some hardships in their lives, but still they manage to build their lives around all these hardships.”

eQualition is still Get money to buy a new batch of batteries to Ukraine. Shchyhol, meanwhile, is optimistic he can get Ukraine’s mobile networks back to 100 percent.

But, like many aspects of this war, Ukraine continues to prepare for the worst. At the end of last year, President Volodmyr Zelensky announced the creation of thousands Points of invincibility across the country – in government offices, pharmacies, gas stations and banks.

“All basic services will be provided, including electricity, mobile communications and internet, heating, water and a first aid kit,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram. “Absolutely free and 24/7.” The sites will be powered by generators and connected to the world via Starlink.

“This is what the Russian flag means: complete desolation,” Zelensky said in another speech in November. “There is no electricity, no communication, no internet, no television. The occupiers deliberately destroyed everything themselves.”

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