Defiant Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are preparing to fight Russia’s army to the death, vowing on Friday to ‘give Putin hell from every house’ when his men make their advance through the major city of Kyiv in a stunning show of resilience.
Among them was a marine who blew himself up along with a bridge in the Kherson region near Crimea in a heroic act that slowed down Russian troops. The marine was named by the General Staff of the Armed Forces as Vitaly Shakun. He was manning the Henichesk bridge in the Kherson region when Russians advanced and mined it.
According to a post on the General Staff’s Facebook page, the battalion decided the only way to stop them was to blow up the bridge. Shakun had no time to escape. He told his comrades he was going to detonate, and second later they heard an explosion.
His efforts and that of the Ukrainian armed forces are significantly slowing down the Russians – one senior defense official cited by CNN said Russian troops are meeting ‘more resistance’ than they anticipated.
‘I can’t give you an exact geographic location of where they are, but they are not moving on Kyiv as fast as they anticipated they would be able to. [They are] meeting more resistance than they expected,’ they added.
On the streets of Kyiv, former leader Petro Poroshenko was among the many civilians forming territorial defense squadrons, ready to take on Putin’s men when they present themselves. In an emotional interview on CNN, Poroshenko held up his Kalashnikov and vowed never to give in to the Russian leader or his army.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky uploaded a video on Thursday night showing that he was still in Kyiv, at Government offices.
‘We are all here. Our soldiers are here. The citizens are here and we are here. We defend our independence. That’s how it’ll go. Glory to our defenders, both male and female, glory to Ukraine!’ he said.
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Vitaly Shakun was manning the Henichesk bridge in the Kherson region when Russians advanced. According to a post on the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s Facebook page, the battalion decided the only way to stop them was to blow up the bridge
The Henichesk bridge in the Kherson region at the Crimean crossing which the Ukrainian forces said was a key area of defense. This image was shared by Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform on Thursday
A post on the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s Facebook page detailed his heroic efforts
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday night posted this video online showing he and members of his cabinet were still in Kyiv at the Government offices. ‘We are all here and that’s how it’ll be,’ he said
‘Good evening to everyone. The leader of the faction David Arakhamia is here, the head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak is here, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal is here, MykhayloPodolyak (advisor to Presidential Office) is here, the President is here.
‘We are all here. (Shmygal showing time on phone screen) Our soldiers are here.
UKRAINE WAR: LATEST
- Russia said it is not willing to negotiate with Ukraine’s government until military operation is over
- Came after Zelensky called for a sit-down with Putin to end the fighting
- Putin said he would be willing to send a team of negotiators to meet Zelensky – in Belarus, which is helping with the invasion
- Russian president then called on Ukrainian military to overthrow the ‘regime’ in Kyiv
- China’s President Xi spoke to Putin by phone, called for diplomatic solution to the fighting
- Ukraine says Russia has bombed 33 civilian sites in Kyiv in the last 24 hours
- Two children have been reported killed in Kyiv bombing overnight
- Ukraine has banned men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country to conscript them into armed forces
- Zelensky has allowed anyone of any age to join the armed forces, and called on Europeans from other countries to come and join the fight
- Russia is deploying paratroopers to Chernobyl after capturing it yesterday, Moscow said
- Ukraine reported ‘anomalous’ radiation levels at the plant amid fears nuclear storage was breached in fighting, but Moscow said readings are normal
- Russia claims to have destroyed 118 Ukrainian military sites in 30 hours of fighting
- PM Boris Johnson pledged more support is coming to Ukraine in the coming days
- Johnson shared a phone call with Zelensky on Friday morning
‘The citizens are here and we are here. We defend our independence. That’s how it’ll go.
‘Glory to our defenders, both male and female, glory to Ukraine!’ he said.
The marine will now be given posthumous awards.
‘On this difficult day for our country, when the Ukrainian people are repelling the Russian occupiers in all directions, one of the most difficult places on the map of Ukraine was the Crimean Isthmus, where a separate battalion of marines met one of the first enemies.
‘To stop the advance of the tank column, it was decided to blow up the Genichesky road bridge. Shakun, engineer of a separate battalion, volunteered to perform this task. The bridge was mined, but he did not have time to leave. According to the brothers, Vitaliy got in touch and said that he was blowing up the bridge. An explosion was heard immediately. Our brother died.
‘His heroic deed significantly slowed the advance of the enemy, which allowed the unit to redeploy and organize the defense,’ a translation of the post reads.
Poroshenko, in his interview on CNN, said: ‘We don’t have an artillery’s, tanks, this is the long line of the people who enlisted but we don’t have enough arms.
‘These are ordinary people have never been in the army. They’re staying in line now to join us.
‘This is extremely touching.’
‘Putin never will catch Ukraine. No matter how many soldiers he has, missiles he has, nuclear weapons.
‘We Ukrainians are free people with a great European future,’ he said.
He however admitted that there aren’t enough guns yet to go around the droves of civilians who are taking up arms.
‘We have maybe two machine guns,’ he said.
In an Instagram post later, he wrote: ‘Getting ready to meet the enemy!
‘Let’s arrange hell for him in every house, on every street, in every city!’
President Zelensky yesterday told the country that he would give a firearm to anyone who wanted one and was willing to stay and fight.
Citizens are being told to use Molotov cocktails to fight the enemy.
Dozens of them were pictured signing up to join defense teams all over the country last night in photos shared by Ukrainian MP Andrii Osandchuk.
President Zelensky this morning shamed President Biden for ‘looking on from a distance’ while Putin stormed his country.
Biden and the West have imposed severe economic sanctions but they have not joined in any physical conflict.
Russian armour is now advancing on Kyiv from the north and east, with US intelligence saying the plan is to besiege the city, capture an airport, and fly in paratroopers who would then attack the capital. The aim would be to capture the government and force them to sign a peace treaty handing control of the country back to Russia or a Russian puppet
Day 2: Russian forces are continuing to push out from positions they opened up during the first day of fighting, making gains in Kherson to the south and pushing into Kyiv in the north – but suffering heavy losses and defeats including in Chernihiv in the north, and Sumy and Kharkiv in the east
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko holds up a Kalashnikov while being interviewed on Friday. He has joined the civilian territorial defense on the streets of Ukraine and says there are lines of people seeking to help but that they don’t have enough arms
Poroshenko shared photos on Instagram with other civilians who have signed up to join the territorial defense teams
Ukrainian soldiers take position on a bridge inside the city of Kyiv, as Russian forces advance into the capital
Russian soldiers on the amphibious infantry fighting vehicle BMP-2 move towards mainland Ukraine on the road near Armiansk, Crimea
Territorial defense fighters test weapons and ammunition in Kiev, Ukraine, 25 February 2022. Russian troops entered Ukraine on 24 February prompting the country’s president to declare martial law and triggering a series of announcements by Western countries to impose severe economic sanctions on Russia
Territorial defense fighters receive weapons and ammunition in Kiev, Ukraine, 25 February 2022. They are civilian volunteers
Members of the Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine load ammunition after receiving weapons to defend the city of Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022
A volunteer brings hot tea and food for the members of the territorial defense battalion on February 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Yesterday, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with Russian troops invading the country from the north, east and south, accompanied by air strikes and shelling
A young couple joining the territorial defense fighters smile after receiving weapons and ammunition in Kiev, Ukraine, 25 February 2022
A volunteer, holding a rifle, protects a main road leading into Kyiv on February 25, 2022
Volunteers, one holding an AK-47 rifle, protect a main road leading into Kyiv on February 25, 2022. – Ukrainian forces fought off Russian invaders in the streets of the capital Kyiv on February 25, 2022
Soldiers tasked with defending Kyiv from advancing Russian troops take up positions underneath a highway into the city
Ukrainian soldiers take position next to a highway a bridge during an exchange of gunfire inside the city of Kyiv
Ukrainian soldiers take up positions in downtown Kyiv as the prepare to defend the capital from Russian attackers
Underground, civilians who are staying are sheltering in their droves. Above, some in a bomb shelter last night
Passengers, including evacuees from the cities of Sumy and Kyiv, walk along the platform of a railway station upon their arrival in Lviv, Ukraine February 25, 2022. The country is split into people fleeing, staying to fight and staying to shelter
But Zelensky said he feels abandoned by his NATO allies who sound as though are ‘afraid’ to state their allegiance to him and his country.
In total, some 50,000 refugees have fled Ukraine since the conflict began earlier this week but that number is expected to balloon as the fighting worsens.
Some who are staying are sheltering in subway stations and basements.
Russia troops are closing in on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital where people were living life largely as normal on Wednesday night.
‘What are they going to do to me? If I show them my US passport, am I dead?’
Video on Friday showed a brave civilian attempting to throw themselves in front of Russian tanks as they made their advance.
The footage appears to have been taken in the south, nearer Crimea.
Russian forces were sustaining heavy casualties across the country with Ukraine claiming to have killed 2,800 men – as Putin himself made an appeal to Ukrainian forces to turn on their ‘drug-addicted neo-Nazi’ leaders or else lay down their arms and go home.
President Zelensky told his men ‘you are all we have’ as he gave a rousing address to defend the country, called on citizens to travel from elsewhere in Europe to join the battle, and hit out at the West for leaving him to face down the might of Russia ‘alone’.
Chechen special ops groups are believed to be on their way to Kyiv to target Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, carrying decks of cards with photographs of their targets faces on them.
In a bleak address earlier, Zelensky said he was target number ‘one’, while his wife and kids were target number two. He is in Kyiv in a bunker.
Independence Square in Kyiv at dawn on Friday morning as Russian troops moved through the city. Ukrainian troops are ready to defend the city which defense experts say could fall by the end of the weekend
A soldier sits on an army tank on the outskirts of Kiev on Friday while thousands flee the city before Russians advance further
An Ukrainian military medic approaches the bodies of Russian servicemen wearing a Ukrainian army uniforms lying beside and inside a vehicle after they were shot during a skirmish in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv
President Joe Biden condemned Vladimir Putin for his invasion of the Ukraine and announced a series of new sanctions on Russian financial insitutitions that he said will have a ‘severe’ effect on that nation’s economy
There remain some 20,000 Americans in Ukraine who now have to make their own way out by fleeing in cars and buses to surrounding countries Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary or Moldova.
Twenty-three fled the city yesterday with Project Dynamo, a donor-funded organization led by ex US military commander Bryan Stern. He went back into Kyiv this morning to retrieve another group.
One woman in the first group made it to the Romanian border but told FOX News on Friday that she and others were now stuck there, unable to get through unless they bribe police $100 each.
All Americans in Ukraine were warned to leave at the start of February but many ignored the advice from the State Department, convinced Putin’s threats were empty. Among them is Craig Arend, a former New York Times fashion photographer turned entrepreneur who moved to Kyiv in December last year.
He spoke to DailyMail.com last night from the Maidan metro station in Independence Square, where dozens huddled to escape missiles overnight, then again on Friday morning after running for his life to retrieve his belongings from his nearby apartment and wait to be collected by a friend and driven to the Polish border.
The subway doors were locked overnight by Ukrainian police, and opened at dawn after the airstrikes had stopped.
‘It was literally, “run for your life” from when we got out of the subway to the apartment,’ Arend said on Friday morning.
‘We saw trucks I don’t know if it was Russian – it was far away.
‘That’s the big thing on the ground – when are we going to see Russian military on the streets? That’s everyone’s worst fear.
‘What are they going to do to me? If I show them my US passport, am I dead?’
There was only one person walking through the ordinarily-buzzing square this morning, as Russian troops moved in on the city and Ukrainian soldiers lay their lives down on roads, ready to fire at first sign of the enemy.
Last night, Arend explained why he and so many others didn’t heed the warnings to leave when the State Department issued them.
‘We thought it was all being hyped up by the American media. Everyone was a little Chicken Little about it,’ he said.
Arend was out in restaurants and bars on Wednesday night, hours before the first airstrikes. He returned home at around 2am. The first air raid sirens rang a few hours later.
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