Grandfathers, Teachers, Steel Workers & Women Take Up Arms to Repel Pro-Russian Rebels
Grandfathers, School Teachers, Steel Workers and Women Take Up Arms to Repel Pro-Russian Rebels
Residents of Mariupol scoff at the idea of a ceasefire, train a defense battalion including senior citizens.
About an hour drive from Mariupol, Ukrainian women dig trenches in the town of Berdyansk, Ukraine.
— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) September 2, 2014
School teachers, steel workers, students and women join defense forces in Mariupol, Ukraine.
In the backyard of a former school, masked volunteers snap to attention to mark the creation of a new fighting unit in the port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine.
The ragtag battalion was hurriedly put together from a group of civilians, including a piano teacher, bulldozer operator, steel worker and bodybuilding instructor, as pro-Russian rebels advanced on Mariupol over the past week.
Renewed shelling of the city on Thursday, despite hopes that a ceasefire might be agreed on Friday, meant Ukrainian troops continued to organize defenses in case of an all-out assault by pro-Russian separatists Kiev says are backed by Moscow.
“From now on we are called the Mariupol battalion, and we will be waging a guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines,” said their commander, a masked man in civilian clothes who only identified himself as Ilan.
About 30 recruits, some in uniform and others in civilian clothes, formed a line to start training in how to handle assault rifles, while others dismantled unloaded weapons.
“You have to do it automatically, no hesitation,” barked an instructor from the Azov battalion, which has already been in battle against the rebels, who were forced out of Mariupol in May.
Ukrainian troops and rebel forces are separated by a strip of land just 12 miles wide outside Mariupol.
Ilan said his troops would also train to fight crime inside the city of half a million and resort to guerrilla warfare only if the rebels overrun Mariupol.
A foster dad in Mariupol, and father of 32 kids, step up to protect city from a Russian invasion.