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The Guardian view on Ukraine’s bitter winter: keeping the lights on | Editorial


As temperatures plummet, Vladimir Putin is trying to freeze the country into submission

With Vladimir Putin’s fury and forces ranged against it, Ukraine needs more than one kind of hardware. Reports on Tuesday said the US is close to providing at least one Patriot missile defence battery to Ukraine, having previously refused Kyiv’s entreaties; Russia has warned against their use. A battery costs around $1bn and each missile around $3m; the systems are in high demand. Training an army to use them can take months.

In contrast, an LED lightbulb can be bought off the shelf for under $2 – and then installed – by any consumer. But Volodymyr Zelenskiy believes these are crucial to the war effort too: he wants 50m of them (the EU has so far pledged 30m). On the same day that news of the Patriot plans broke, the Ukrainian president told an emergency conference in Paris that generators are as essential as armour to help his country survive.

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