Despite daily power outages and going without heat, light and water for hours on end due to the continuing Russian barrage of missile strikes, Ukrainian businesses vow to "go on" as winter looms.
"Our clinics usually don't have power for at least half of the working day," Vitalii Gyrin, 38, who is the CEO of the nationwide Adonis network of medical centers told Fortune. "Power blackouts and missile strikes are our biggest worries. You cannot plan for more than a couple days."
According to the report, Gyrin's network employs 500 doctors and 1,200 other staff that perform a variety of medical services, including maternity, X-rays, major surgeries and dental work, which can be routinely interrupted by blackouts amid Russian shelling and missile attacks that have devastated an estimated 50% of the country's energy infrastructure in the past month.
While Russian forces have withdrawn in some areas, President Vladimir Putin has significantly increased attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure and energy grid with cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones, causing its capital city of Kyiv to face "a complete" power shutdown just as snow begins to fall in the winter season, the report said.
Despite the hardships, Gyrin said his clinics will continue.
"When the war began, we made our decision to keep working no matter what," Gyrin said to the news outlet, "until Ukraine's victory. We are determined to go on."
In October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that the increased infrastructure attacks would not deter the nation's resolve.
"We are not afraid of the dark," Fortune reported Zelenskyy saying in October. "Shelling will not break us."
Even some businesses that halted following the initial February Russian invasion have returned and are persevering through the war, soon to enter its ninth month.
"I was paralyzed and didn't know what to do. The future seemed completely black. I stopped my business then," clothing brand Hochusbitake owner Nata Smirina, 38, told Fortune. But by June, her business was up and running again. "I wanted to support my staff, our military forces and keep my brand alive."
Officials said in the report that the damage to Ukraine's power grid "situation is critical," with crews from power companies working continuously to keep as much power, light, heat and water flowing as possible.
"We're still estimating the damage from the latest attacks," Antonina Antosha, spokesperson for the private energy investment company DTEK, which provides 20% of Ukraine's power, told Fortune. "But it's already obvious that it's hundreds of millions of dollars."
While some businesses may be pushing ahead to keep workers employed and able to feed their families, there is also a sense that by continuing, they are the economic "front" in the Ukrainian war effort and their way to support the besieged nation.
"This is our economic front," tech firm head Eugene Kuguk, 36, told the news outlet. Stressing that continuing to operate and paying taxes is the "most important thing a businessperson can do now."
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