‘I’m a soldier now.’ Even in untouched villages, Ukrainians are prepared to fight

DNIPRO, Ukraine – Outside a large military hospital in the city of Dnipro, central Ukraine, on Sunday, people lined up in long lines to donate warm clothes and water, while a priest moved among the crowd offering each sip of holy wine from the silver chalice. He allowed those waiting to kiss the large silver cross he wore on a chain around his neck.

Serhii Bachynskyi, deputy director of the hospital, said that since the fighting began three days ago, wounded soldiers have poured into the hospital, sometimes as many as 80 at a time, mostly from the front lines in the north. east and south of Ukraine, Serhii Bachynskyi, deputy director of the hospital. The hospital has 400 beds, but the number of injured has exceeded this number in the past few days, he added.

Because the Russian plane was patrolling the sky, it was too dangerous to evacuate the wounded from the helicopter.

“We’re evacuating whatever we can; on trains and buses. People are volunteering,” said Bachynskyi.

Across the street, a group of combat medics had just arrived in green military trucks with wounds smoking and preparing to return to the front lines. They will provide some details on what they are seeing ahead, but say they are not short of work.

One of the doctors said: “Either we fight them or we all die. “We are trying and will do so until the end.”

Before the war began, military officials and analysts had warned that Russia could launch attacks on different areas simultaneously as a diversion to pull Ukrainian forces away from their targets. main target. As a result, almost all of Ukraine fell into a state of war.

So far, Russian forces have concentrated most of their firepower on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in the north, but fighting is still intense in other parts of the country. It has been especially fierce in the east, where Russian troops have engaged with separatists in two breakaway regions of Ukraine, and in the south, where Russian forces have withdrawn from the Crimean Peninsula, where the President Vladimir Putin annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

There is growing evidence that despite its superiority over Ukrainian forces, the Russian military is still having difficulty gaining a foothold in many areas of the country.

In Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers managed to keep most of the Russian troops out of the city center. In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where Russian forces attacked villages and residential areas with artillery, Russian troops briefly advanced into the city center on Sunday, but were repelled by Ukrainian troops. , according to Ukrainian officials.

After a brief respite, shelling resumed Saturday on Ukraine’s busiest port city, Odessa, but there was no sign the city was in danger of falling to Russia. And in Mariupol, another port city, the Russian navy’s first amphibious assault attempt was thwarted, although another was underway, Ukrainian officials said.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the President of Ukraine, gave an upbeat assessment of the Ukrainian military’s efforts on Sunday and, speaking in Russian, directly called on the Russian military to abandon the war.

“Like any soldier, you know there are a million ways to disobey orders,” he said. “You’re lost, you’re broken, the radio isn’t working, etc. We believe in you and trust in your courage, honor and prudence, which will allow you to make choices. right in these stressful times.”

Even in cities and towns that have not yet heard the explosion of Russian artillery, residents are already preparing for the possibility of an attack. In the smallest villages, on Sundays, people went out, set up checkpoints and built fortifications with sandbags, tires and sometimes whole trees.

At the entrance of a village called AgroCenter 2, locals are stacking sandbags and someone has erected a wooden cross that says “Save and Protect” in Ukrainian. At another checkpoint, someone made a vulgar excuse against the Russian President, which became the cry of the Ukrainian people for help..

Billboards with colorful messages aimed at unwanted Russian guests have appeared across the country.

On Ukraine’s east-west roads, cars fleeing the fighting farther east can be seen emblazoned with the country’s flag.

Irina Kolchak arrived in the small town of Kropyvnytskyi in central Ukraine on Sunday night after fleeing with her family from Kharkiv earlier in the day when Russian forces moved in. Although she is seeking refuge further west, she said she is still trying to support the war effort. During her journey, she worked with her contacts to try to secure medicine for the troops, and before leaving she donated two of her cars to units defending the territory. guard Kharkiv.

Ms. Kolchak was delighted by the news of Ukraine’s successes and said she hoped her country’s troops would continue to push back Russian forces from where they came.

“Golda Meir says that with killers you can never negotiate,” she said, referring to Israel’s fourth prime minister, who was born in Ukraine. “And I agree with her.”

Dnipro on Sunday morning is a series of activities. At all entrances to the city, groups of men are stacking sandbags and placing metal barricades. Soldiers with automatic rifles were questioning motorcyclists and searching cars.

They have reason to be wary. Bachynskyi, from the military hospital, said that a group of Russian troops tried to parachute into the suburbs of Dnipro on Saturday. One was killed and three were captured, but four managed to escape and are now hiding somewhere in the area.

At the Rocket Park in the center of Dnipro, an outdoor display of intercontinental ballistic missiles and other rockets produced by the local state-owned factory Yuzhmash was the setting for the campaign of city. Men in black or camouflage are signing up for territorial defense brigades that are deployed to guard the city perimeter and patrol the center. Others are donating clothes and supplies to troops at the front.

There, I met Timofei Khomyak, a musician I knew on a previous visit to Dnipro. Less than a month ago we were drinking beer at a Bohemian bar on the banks of the Dnieper. Now, he says, he has given his guitar to a rifle: “I’m not a musician anymore. Now I am a soldier”.

Nearby, people in civilian clothes were sorting and bottling boxing bottles to make flamethrowers. One man was organizing others, looking for volunteers to pick up bottles elsewhere in the city to fill with flammable liquids.

They speak Russian, which is more commonly spoken in this part of Ukraine. But they have no plans to greet any Russian troops with flowers if they show up, as Russian officials and propaganda broadcasters insist that the Ukrainians will.

“We are all Ukrainian and everyone feels that they are Ukrainian,” said Yefrem Korotkov, 25, who just signed up as a volunteer. “No one lets these ethnic Russians in here do anything. They will all die.”

At the age of 15, Bohdan Smolkov was 9 months too young to join the forces defending the territory, so he tried to help in various ways and joined the group of people preparing bottles for the fireballs. .

“My mission is to help my army,” he said. “Whatever they tell me to do, I will do. I sort bottles; they called me in to make Molotov cocktails. ” ‘I’m a soldier now.’ Even in untouched villages, Ukrainians are prepared to fight

Fry Electronics Team

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