‘Hello from Ukraine’: Volunteers make Molotov cocktails to counter the Russian offensive

Five days after Russia began its assault on Ukraine, citizens in cities and towns across the country continued to withstand military advances on Monday. While the Ukrainian armed forces faced a Russian attack, volunteer citizens became a major part of the Ukrainian resistance.

On February 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged citizens across the country to mobilize against the all-out Russian invasion. Thousands of people lined up to enlist in the army.

Meanwhile, citizens were called every day to take up arms to defend their cities. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, on Facebook, encouraged residents of a suburb of Kyiv to “make Molotov cocktails” and “destroy the occupier.” A video clip showed firearms being distributed to civilians in the same area.

At Obolon in Kyiv, firearms are delivered to anyone who wishes pic.twitter.com/UbHgBQNZJu

– Ilya Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) February 25, 2022 This video posted on Twitter by an amateur on February 25, 2022 shows weapons being delivered in Kyiv’s Obolon district. As Russian ground forces try to reach Kyiv, the towns around the capital are the first line of defense.

“Ordinary people do crazy things to defend our country” Our Observer Boris Chulyak lives in the city of Priluky in north-central Ukraine, about 130 km east of Kyiv. While hiding in a cellar, he uses Telegram to track the constant resistance spread on the outskirts of the city.

Volunteers and the Ukrainian army maintain a permanent guard at all entrances to the city. Air raid sirens inform the whole city of danger. You can hear about six to 10 sirens a day. If the sirens do not work in the city, church bells can be used. I did not take part in the fighting itself, it is going on on the outskirts of the city and all citizens are urged to hide in shelters – my family uses a cellar. [I have heard explosions] intermittently during the past two hours.

Many of the townspeople took part in the fighting. They are mostly ordinary people who know something about military tactics. There are many stories of ordinary people doing crazy things to defend our country.

A photo sent to us by our Observer shows the basement door in which he and his family are hiding. © Boris Shulyak organizes all the townspeople to help our army with all kinds of provisions: tires, blocks, sandbags, transport, food, power banks and clothes. Women weave military nets and everyone who can make Molotov cocktails for the army. The townspeople are also looking for beacons for soldiers to set up for air strikes.

The gas company Sumygaz posted these photos on its Facebook page on February 26, 2022. They allegedly show targets that Russian forces have placed on gas lines in order to more easily identify them. “If you see any suspicious marks, smudge them with dirt, mud, etc. If they are stickers, tear them up and report them.”

In this video, a man drives around Pryluky to erase suspicious markings, which might be placed there to help Russian soldiers aim during airstrikes.

yesterday, [February 27] There was a battle in which our people defended their positions and did not allow the enemy to enter Kyiv. And the sounds of gunshots and explosions continue to this day.

On February 27, a combat unit in Priluki succeeded in destroying a Russian tank that was trying to break through the city limits, according to our Observer and photos released by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. The tank is a T-72B3M, equipped with a cage armor to protect against an anti-tank spear. Russia used a similar model in Crimea in August 2021.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine published in a post on its Facebook page on February 27, 2022 photos of a Russian tank destroyed by a unit in Priluki.

Photos of the destroyed tank in Pryluky (center and right) show similar elements seen in photos of Russian T-72B3M tanks in use in Crimea in August 2021. Notably, both are equipped with anti-javelin armor. © Observers Despite the fact that the Russian forces are kept in limbo for the time being, the residents of Pryluky are still constantly afraid of being attacked, especially since they hear news of attacks on other small towns on the road to Kyiv.

[I am feeling] Very worried. I try to be calm so that my younger brother does not get upset, but my mother and grandmother are in a very panicked. At the moment, our friends called us and told us everything about Ichna and Olshan [Editor’s note: another nearby town] It was full of enemy equipment. The explosions have not stopped for an hour and a half. This is a very scary situation

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