KYIV, Ukraine — From old stone water wells in the heart of ancient Kyiv to the metal spigots in markets across the sprawling metropolis, people lined up on Monday to fill jugs and bottles after the latest Russian assault on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure left most of the capital without running water for hours.
Maksym Khaurat, 31, had already been enduring rolling blackouts, a lack of heat in his apartment and a failing internet connection. The loss of water was different.
“We can live without heat and light,” he said. This was the first time he was unable to fill a glass of water from the tap, take a shower or flush his toilet.
Before the latest round of assaults on Ukrainian infrastructure, a buzz had returned to the capital. While energy consumption across the country is still 30 percent below its prewar levels, in Kyiv it had returned to nearly what it was before Russia invaded in late February.
Mr. Khaurat said that the tens of thousands of people living closer to the front lines have been enduring worse hardships for months. Cities have been laid to waste by Russian forces, displacing millions and forcing those who remain to live an almost medieval existence.
“I am angry,” he said. “Angry at that man in Russia. I hate him.”
By Monday evening, water service in Kyiv had been partially restored. Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said 40 percent of the city’s residents were still without water as of 6 p.m. local time and that work was still underway to restore their supply. Some 270,000 homes remained without power, he added.
The father of a one-month-old, Mr. Khaurat said he had spent the morning huddled in the bathroom of his family’s fourth-floor apartment in the district of Obolon on the northern outskirts of Kyiv. He said three or four loud booms in rapid succession at around 8 a.m. had rattled his windows and woken up his baby, Miroslava. The bathroom was the safest place to shelter, he said, because two walls stand between any windows.
When he emerged, he saw smoke in the distance. But with no internet connection, he said it was impossible to know what was happening. He only knew that when he turned on his faucet, no water came out.
Kyiv has a network of wells located under ornate metal canopies that are still widely used, much like public drinking fountains in America.
So Mr. Khaurat joined the growing lines of people gathering water for the day. In one district of Kyiv, lines stretched for blocks to use a well in a park. At another well in the heart of the old city, only fifty yards from where a missile struck three weeks ago, a steady stream of people came throughout the day to collect water.
The recent strikes have put serious pressure on Ukraine’s grid, prompting rolling blackouts and warnings from officials about the need to conserve energy as the winter looms. The government also has asked Ukrainians outside of the country not to return as resources will be stretched thin.
Mr. Khaurat had come back to Kyiv this summer after taking refuge further to the west earlier in the war. He said he does not want to leave his home again and has made preparations for a hard winter, but he may have to reconsider if water continues to be scarce.
“We have a lot of decisions to be made,” he said.
But, he added, “however bad this winter may be, it will be better than living under Russia.”
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