Ukraine, the army of engineers that protects telecommunications

Soldiers are not the only army that theUkraine has fielded to face theinvasion launched by Russia. Alongside them are also lined up hundreds of IT experts, thousands of doctors and, vital in these phases of heavy attacks on the infrastructure strategic ukrainians, an army of engineers of the country’s telephone companies, which has mobilized to help the population keep the lines of communication open hit by Russian bombing.

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Daily routine

They work around the clock to keep or restore phone service and emails internet connectionssometimes crossing minefields and bombing target areas. “I know that our boys, my colleagues, I am exhaustedbut they continue to work tirelessly motivated by the fact that we are doing something important”, he said to Associated Press Yuriy Dugnist, an engineer at the Ukrainian telecommunications company Kyivstar, was interviewed while he was working to repair a mobile network mast on the outskirts of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

Dugrist and his colleagues showed the news agency an insight into their new daily routine, which begins by monitoring an app on their smartphones. The app reports it in real time state of the dozens of telephone towers in the capital areaindicating which ones are receiving electricity, which ones are switched off due to planned blackouts to save electricity, which ones have been affected by bombing and how much fuel is left for those powered by generators of emergency.

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When the application reports “low on fuel”, low fuel in English, engineers go into action, filling eight cans of 20 liters each, to recharge the large tanks that feed the repeater generators. Many of these are located in the peripheral areas of the city, where electricity has been completely or almost completely absent for weeks.

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Satellites are not enough

The generators were installed before the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, while already the Ukrainian population feared and he was preparing for the worst, after the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of regional conflicts in the Donbas region in 2014. Until now, however, they had never been used, representing a precaution in view of possible emergencies. But for some months, they are now the only resource that allows Ukrainians to maintain contact with the outside world and communicate with each other.

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In fact, the satellite system starlinks by Elon Musk is used only by the Ukrainian army and authorities, given the high costs of use. For this, following the continuous blackouts caused throughout the country by Russian bombing, starting in November Kyivstar has deployed 15 engineering teamsrallying all reserves and people with expertise in the matter, to keep everyone active 2,500 repeaters in its service area.

In addition to monitoring and fixing cell towers in Ukrainian-controlled areas, the engineering teams also timely restore communications in the newly liberated areas, braving minefields and traps left by the occupying troops. For example, Dugnist was one of the first people to join a Irpina suburb northwest of Kyiv occupied and then liberated in the early stages of the invasion, also anticipating the Ukrainian minesweeping teams, which are securing the areas abandoned by the Russians.

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