Behind Ukraine’s Fierce Resistance Are Citizens Who Left Behind Comfortable Lives To Answer A Call Of Duty

Behind Ukraine’s Fierce Resistance Are Citizens Who Left Behind Comfortable Lives To Answer A Call Of Duty

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32 min agoThe ordinary Ukrainians fighting back against RussiaFrom CNN’s Mick Krever

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

At the center of that fight are ordinary citizens who left behind comfortable lives to answer a call of duty — people such as 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 Donbas region.

Most civilians have left, and the artillery battles are near-constant. These are some of the people trying to ensure it does not fall into Russian hands.

Anna Arhipova, 22

(Mick Krever/CNN)Anna Arhipova was a logistics manager in her hometown of Poltava, northeast Ukraine, before the war began.

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

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

“Everybody tells me that I have to give birth, cook, clean, and do the housekeeping, not be here,” she says. “It irritates me very, very much. I answer that if I would like to give birth, I would not be here.”

Alex, 34

(Mick Krever/CNN)Alex, who wanted to use only his first name out of privacy concerns, is a software engineer from Kharkiv. Last year, he built his own countryside log cabin.

Now his house, which was on a strategically located hill, has been reduced to a hole five meters deep, and he spends many of his nights sleeping in a tank named ‘Bunny,’ which was stolen from the Russian military in the opening weeks of the war.

“This is like my personal tank,” he explains. “I am like tank commander and tank owner,” he says with a laugh.

Vlad Sord, 27

(Mick Krever/CNN)Vlad Sord was still a teenager when he signed up to fight for Ukraine in 2014.

“A lot of strange things happen there,” explains Sord, as he chain smokes cigarillos. “Things that I could not explain, I collected them, compiled them, wrote them down.”

He’s now a published author and poet. He fights for his country, and gathers material to document what’s happening.

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

35 min agoIt’s 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to knowAs intense fighting continues in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine, Russia’s ally Belarus announced it will deploy its special forces along the border it shares with Ukraine’s north, claiming opposing military buildups from the US and its allies.

Meanwhile, a United Nations agency has reported that more than 8 million people — roughly one in five of Ukraine’s pre-war population — are internally displaced, with needs “growing by the hour.”

Here are some of the latest developments:

US moves forward with aid bill: The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted on Tuesday evening to pass a roughly $40 billion bill to deliver humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, and the bill will head to the Senate for its expected approval before being signed by President Joe Biden into law. (House TV)Putin is preparing for a long conflict, US intel director says: The US intelligence community believes that the war is likely to become “more unpredictable and escalatory” in the coming months, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Tuesday. President Vladimir Putin’s next move will be difficult to predict in part because he “faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities,” Haines said.Russian regime must be removed, says Lithuanian FM: Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the removal of Putin along with his entire regime are necessary to stop Russia’s “warmongering” and predicted the Kremlin leader will become increasingly erratic as his battlefield losses grow in Ukraine. UN Security Council meeting set: The UN Security Council is expected to hold a public meeting Thursday morning on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine at the request of France and Mexico. The UN Humanitarian Office and officials from UNICEF are expected to brief the council at that time though no vote is scheduled.Food transport problems: The intelligence arm of the Ukrainian defense ministry has said grain stolen by Russian troops in occupied areas is already being sent abroad, with much of it “on dry cargo ships under the Russian flag in the Mediterranean.” Bridget Brink, the nominee for US ambassador to Ukraine, said Tuesday that the US is “trying to work with international partners and others to help find alternative routes for grain and corn out of Ukraine” due to Russian forces blocking ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.38 min agoFreed US citizen detained in Ukraine by Russian forces says he feels “relieved”From CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton

Bryan Stern, co-founder of Project Dynamo, left, and Kirillo Alexandrov, a 27-year-old American citizen who was held captive by Russians for alleged espionage. (CNN)CNN’s Erin Burnett spoke with Kirillo Alexandrov, a 27-year-old American citizen who was held captive by Russians for alleged espionage. 

Bryan Stern, co-founder of Project Dynamo, told CNN that Alexandrov and his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law were taken by Russian forces more than a month ago in Kherson Oblast. They had been held in a building occupied by the Russians and the Russian security services would not allow them to leave until today, Stern said.    

Sitting next to Stern, Alexandrov told Erin, “I feel relieved, nothing more, nothing less, just relieved.”  

When asked how he was treated by Russian soldiers while in captivity he said he is a victim of war crimes. 

“Some individuals were very cordial with me, some were violent. I was cuffed and beaten a few

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