Ukrainians forced to flee their homes as Russia targets energy in 'new Cold War'

ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine reports on Russia's "Cold War" in Ukraine.

Ukrainians are being forced to flee their homes as Russia targets gas and power.

By depriving the surviving Ukrainians of basic needs, Vladimir Putin is waging a new 'Cold War' as a long winter begins.

In Vovchansk, close to the Russian border, 92-year-old resident Paulina has seen the armies of Hitler, Stalin and Putin capture her village over the course of her life.

Vovchansk was liberated from Putin's invasion in September, but after Russia cut off gas and electricity, she has reluctantly had to leave.

As she was carried away from her home, Paulina vowed to return home in the spring.

The war has closed roughly half of the hospitals in the country's second city, Kharkiv, leaving premature babies also among Ukraine’s most vulnerable.

The tiny infants are instead being cared for in a hospital where a lack of mains electricity means around 80% of lights must be kept off.

Premature babies are being kept alive with ventilators that are reliant on generators on the brink of failure. Credit: ITV News

But with respirators being run by a generator with three days of fuel left, paediatricians are preparing for worst case scenarios.

One paediatrician, Irina, told ITV News: "If everything runs out, we have these manual respirators and all of us can give the babies air by hand. 

"I have some experience in this.

"Once I had to stand beside a child and provide breath for eight hours."

Ukrainian paediatrician Irina speaks to ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine. Credit: ITV News

When air raids forced the transfer of patients to the hospital basement, Dr Victoria went too. She remained down there between 27 February and 2 May. 

Dr Victoria told ITV News how it felt to finally resurface into the daylight.

"Air, daylight, sunshine…it was incredible.  It had warmed up and there was a break in the shelling. 

"We were able to let the mothers and their babies enjoy fresh air."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know