Ordinary Ukrainians retaliate against Russia

Ukraine’s fierce resistance to the Russian invasion resonated around the world.

At the center of this fight are ordinary citizens who left behind comfortable lives to answer a call of duty – people like a software engineer, a logistics manager, and even a poet.

The area south of Izium is a key point of resistance against Russian attempts to completely encircle the Donbass region.

Most of the civilians have left and the artillery fighting is almost constant. These are some of the people trying to make sure it doesn’t fall into Russian hands.

Anna Archipova, 22 years old

(Mick Krever/CNN)

Anna Arhipova was a logistics manager in her hometown of Poltava in northeastern Ukraine before the war started.

At the time, her overriding fear was not violence, but “not being helpful,” she says. So she signed up and now drives a van in some of the most dangerous areas of the conflict.

In a world of bearded, stocky young men, his slight build has an uncommon figure. But she says it’s the men, not her, who are troubled by her presence.

“Everyone tells me I have to give birth, cook, clean and do housework, not be here,” she says. “It annoys me enormously. I answer that if I wanted to give birth, I wouldn’t be there.”

Alex, 34 years old

(Mick Krever/CNN)
(Mick Krever/CNN)

Alex, who wished to use only his first name for privacy reasons, is a software engineer from Kharkiv. Last year he built his own log cabin in the countryside.

Now his house, which used to be on a strategically located hill, has been reduced to a hole five meters deep, and he spends most of his nights sleeping in a tank named “Bunny”, which was stolen from the Russian army in the first weeks of the war.

“It’s like my personal tank,” he explains. “I’m like a tank commander and a tank owner,” he laughs.

Vlad Sord, 27 years old

(Mick Krever/CNN)
(Mick Krever/CNN)

Vlad Sord was still a teenager when he signed up to fight for Ukraine in 2014.

“A lot of weird things are going on there,” Sord says, as he chain-smokes cigarillos. “Things that I couldn’t explain, I collected, compiled, wrote down.”

He is now a published author and poet. He fights for his country and collects material to document what is happening.

“I have a very good memory for the dialogues themselves and I use them. I write everything.”

Christi C. Elwood