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'If the Russians come here, we'll push them out'

Rogue Valley

Putin = War Criminal
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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'If the Russians come here, we'll push them out'


Day by day, Kyiv grows more tense. Checkpoints, barricades, and roadblocks radiate from the imposing streets in the city centre to the motorways on the outskirts. Spiky metal tank traps - called hedgehogs - have mushroomed at strategic locations. Troops are more alert, checking every car. Some still smile and say "welcome", but many look distracted, already focusing on the battle to come. It feels like Ukrainian forces in the capital are poised and ready to fight. This ancient city - with its elegant facades and onion domed churches - is now on a war footing. Russia's advance has clearly not gone to plan for President Vladimir Putin. With the invasion now in its second week, his troops and tanks are still outside the capital - but maybe not for long. Ukrainian forces we spoke to on Thursday expect the Russians to reach Kyiv in a day or two. So, deep in a forest on the outskirts of the city, men from Ukraine's territorial defence units are digging trenches. "Welcome to our party," said the soldier who dropped us off, after a bumpy ride in the back of a military truck full of ammunition boxes. The scene is somehow reminiscent of World War Two.

Mykhaylo blends in with the forest. The 25-year-old computer programmer stands proud, in full camouflage gear. He joined a territorial defence unit earlier this year and got just a few days of training, but he insists he's combat ready. "I am not afraid," he said firmly. "We are prepared, and we have a lot of powerful guys there. There is a big possibility that the Russians won't even come here. I am very confident in our armed forces. If the Russians make it this far, we will push them out". There is still a sense of profound shock that Moscow has stormed onto Ukrainian soil and is trying to seize the capital. "You don't expect this from a neighbour," said Lilya Romanova, a 39-year-old sales director and mother of two young daughters. "We had never thought we would have to explain to our children what war is," she said, "and that Russia is the aggressor. We used to teach our children to speak Russian, but not anymore. Now there is only the Ukrainian language. Even my grandmother is learning it now, at 90 years of age." The soundtrack of the city is now a surreal mix of silence and sirens, punctuated by the thud of explosions, especially at night. Checkpoints are starting to outnumber hipster coffee shops. "It's like 'Call of Duty - Ukraine'," said our young translator. Kyiv feels like a battleground in waiting.

May your aim be true and your victories many.

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