Unreal scenes of horror and heroism as Russian forces meet Ukrainian civilians in a battle for Kyiv

The war between Ukraine and Russia has captivated people everywhere, not just because of the dire implications its outcome will have on the world, but because much of it is playing out in real-time across multiple social media platforms. Images of brave Ukrainian civilians hastily fashioning Molotov cocktails as Russian tanks roll into Kyiv bring the battle as close to home as your smartphone.

The images are equally horrifying and heroic, and impossible to scroll past. Everyone, it seems, is emotionally invested as the war enters what the adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, Anton Herashchenko, says is the “hardest day” of the conflict to date.

Take, for example, these videos of a Ukrainian citizen desperately trying to stop an oncoming convoy of Russian tanks with his car. The similarities to 1989’s  “tank man” from Tiananmen Square are unmistakable, as is the lump it develops in your throat.

In another video, a Russian tank can be seen crushing a car with the driver still inside as a woman, watching from her window and recording the entire thing, gasps in dismay. Video later emerged of the man being pulled from the wreckage.

 

“But Putin’s men seemed set to face bloody street-to-street fighting as Ukrainian troops tasked with the city’s defence began setting up defensive positions across highways, on bridges and on street corners with gunfire and explosions heard in the centre of the capital,” reports the Daily Mail. “Civilians were also being armed with rifles and Molotov cocktails.”

Here’s a closer shot of the unbelievable scene **Warning for disturbing content**:

 

And, in case you doubt that things are so dire, head back to Twitter, where there’s a tweet showing a group of Ukrainian citizens, huddled resolutely together, calmly assembling the make-shift weapons.

On Facebook, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine gives an update to its 449,000 followers, stating, “Enemy reconnaissance and sabotage groups operate insidiously, disguising themselves in civilian clothes and infiltrating cities in order to destabilize the situation by carrying out sabotage operations.”

The update ends with a recruitment call: “Join the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Territorial Defense Forces!”

 

 

Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky posted an extraordinary video from central Kyiv to dispel any rumors that, as his citizens prepare to fight, he had escaped.

“We are all here,” he said from outside the presidency building. “Our military is here. Citizens in society are here. We’re all here defending our independence, our country, and it will stay this way.”

Russian forces have faced losses, and those, too, have been captured and shared with the world.

And a new hero has been named — one worthy of its own Bat-signal, a legion of awestruck fans, and instant legend status: A single jet fighter, credited with shooting down six Russian aircraft, known simply and spectacularly as the “Ghost of Kyiv.”

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Melissa Fine

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