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Thu Mar 3, 2022, 11:30 AM

The other members of Ukraine's resistance

Tymofii Brik and his girlfriend spent Friday evening walking around their neighborhood in Kyiv, looking at the ground, at walls, and up at roofs. They were searching for special markings left behind by Russian saboteurs, who Ukrainian officials warned had infiltrated cities and may have been marking buildings to target for strikes.

It is not clear Russian forces actually marked buildings, but Brik said the local government had asked civilians to go out and search, and they felt they had to do something, even a small thing like this. Brik’s girlfriend, a climber, wanted to scale the side of their nine-story apartment building to investigate. Brik talked her down from that idea, as did the climbing buddies she texted for advice. It wasn’t worth the risk, they said, and Brik and his girlfriend went inside without uncovering any signs of Russian saboteurs.

Russia invaded Ukraine a week ago, beginning a war that, to some Ukrainians, felt improbable until the first explosions went off. When the attacks began, “the activation was immediate,” said Brik, a sociologist and researcher at the Kyiv School of Economics, who spoke Sunday evening from the shower in his apartment bathroom in Kyiv, where he and his girlfriend were sheltering.

That activation happened all across Ukraine, drawing on some of the lessons of 2014, during the country’s Euromaidan uprising and, later, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursions into eastern Ukraine. Eight years later, civilians have signed up to fight, joining the Territorial Defense Forces to defend cities. But the resistance extends far beyond that. Citizens are using their skills and their contacts to fill in the gaps for the government and the armed forces, and are finding ways, many of them informal and improvised, to contribute to the war effort.

“All the nation is involved, not only the army,” said Viktoriya (who is being referred to by a pseudonym for safety reasons), who helps supply medicines to Kyiv.

Slava Ukraini!

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