Ukraine's Pressing Problem: It Has Lost Its Windows

It's estimated that millions of windows have been blown out, and winter looms
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2022 5:06 PM CDT
Ukraine Needs Glass, Quickly
Men work to cover with plywoods the damaged windows of a residential building after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.   (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Ukraine needs glass, badly and quickly. But from almost any angle you look at it, obtaining that glass is a nightmare. The New York Times reports that across the country, countless buildings that have withstood the Russian invasion have lost their windows—"millions" of windows, per one estimate the paper got. One Chernihiv local told the Times he counted every window that needed replacing in his 9-story building and came up with 496. And with winter looming, the need is transitioning into a dire necessity. Here, the cold weather persists for five months, from mid-October through mid-March, and temperatures can easily hit zero or below.

At the Times, Jeffrey Gettleman explains that the best alternatives (plywood, plastic wrap) are wholly inadequate: depressingly dark and depressingly flimsy, respectively. But the country's glass sourcing is a problematic one. In recent years its glass has come largely from Russia and Belarus, which aren't options right now. There are other European suppliers, but the prices are higher and rising due to the increasing cost of the energy required to make glass. (This separate Times piece looks at the struggles of one glass factory in France.) In some cases, Ukrainians are looking at prices that are four times what they once were, and for many, that's unaffordable. And it could be a big domino to fall: pipes are more likely to freeze in unheated homes, making them even more challenging to live in. (Read the full Times piece here.)

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