Volunteers, among them the former Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna (pictured), have taken up arms to fight off Vladimir Putin's army in Kyiv after the city held firm in a third night of 'brutal' shelling

The everyday Ukrainians standing against Putin: Newlyweds with rifles, returning expats and an ex-Miss Ukraine are among thousands of civilians resisting the Russian invasion of Kyiv

  • Thousands of civilians across Ukraine are preparing to fight off the Russians 
  • Among them is ex-Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna, 31, who won contest in 2015 
  • For weeks civilians have been trained to handle weapons, including grenades 
  • Kyiv has survived another night of ‘brutal’ shelling at the hands of Russian forces
  • Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian convoy in Bucha, north west of the capital 
  • An oil depot at Vasylkiv Air Base, 25 miles south west of Kyiv destroyed overnight
  • Volunteers, among them a former Miss Ukraine, have taken up arms as a defence
  • Ukrainian troops halted the advance of Russian forces on the capital by Sunday 

A former Miss Ukraine is one of hundreds of locals taking up arms against invading Russian forces in Kyiv tonight – as satellite images released today show Vladimir Putin’s army encircling the capital city.

Anastasiia Lenna, 31, was pictured with a huge rifle, complete with a pink scope, as she warned in an Instagram post: ‘Everyone who crosses the Ukrainian border with the intent to invade will be killed!’

The now viral image came amid reports of long snaking queues of citizens waiting to be issued weapons in the capital, which is expecting another Russian assault this evening.

Ms Lenna, who usually works as a public relations manager in Turkey, posted the image alongside two hashtags, reading ‘stand with Ukraine’ and ‘hands off Ukraine’.

It is not the first time she has been pictured with a gun and previous posts appear to show her training with weapons in wooded areas and indoor training grounds.

Among the other volunteers is a man with a prosthetic leg and a young couple who brought forward their wedding from May to tie the knot before joining the civil defence force the next day.

For weeks now, ordinary citizens across the country have been receiving basic combat training in everything from handling guns to making incendiary Molotov cocktails to tossing grenades.

Ukrainians living abroad have even flown home to join the ‘Territorial Defense Units’ –  which have been trained by military personnel in wooded or abandoned areas on the outskirts of cities.

The newly trained forces have been seen standing guard behind stacks of tires at checkpoints in the capital of Kyiv and patrolling its empty streets.

Most wear street clothes with yellow arm bands to identify them as volunteer soldiers.

Volunteers, among them the former Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna (pictured), have taken up arms to fight off Vladimir Putin’s army in Kyiv after the city held firm in a third night of ‘brutal’ shelling
Former Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna in a plunging red dress – long before she took up arms against Russian invaders

Ukrainian forces in Kyiv have destroyed a column of Russian vehicles in the city’s northwest after surviving a ‘brutal’ night of shelling.

Volunteers, among them the former Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna, have taken up arms to fight off Vladimir Putin‘s army, with ‘long queues’ of citizens waiting to be issued weapons at recruitment centres in Kyiv.

Ukrainian forces have managed to halt the advance of Russian troops on the capital, blowing bridges into the city to hinder the advance of Moscow’s soldiers.

Russian forces were on Sunday afternoon destroyed in Bucha, near the Gostomel air base in the north west of Kyiv, after becoming trapped when the Irpin bridge into the city was destroyed.

Footage posted online purported to show the harrowing aftermath of what military experts said was likely a drone strike on the Russian Airborne Forces column, with parts of vehicles strewn across the road in a warp, fiery heap.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian servicemen were pictured roaming in the centre of Kyiv to enforce a 39-hour curfew to keep people off the streets.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said no Russian troops had managed to enter the city despite the bombardment.

He also warned those outside after 5pm and before 8am will be considered part of ‘the enemy’s sabotage and reconnaissance groups’ – he later said there were no Russian troops inside the city.

But he announced that at least nine civilian had been ‘lost or killed’ in the capital, among them one child, since the start of the invasion.

Two smoke clouds were filmed over the city this morning, though at least one was reported to be caused by Ukrainian forces blowing a bridge into the capital.

A second was reportedly caused by a Russian cruise missile in the Troieshchyna, a north eastern suburb of the city.

And by Sunday afternoon Ukrainian military officials were warning Belarussian special forces were preparing for an air assaults of the capital – in a sign Alexander Lukashenko has officially joined the Russian-waged war.

Russian forces were on Sunday afternoon destroyed in Bucha, near the Gostomel air base in the north west of Kyiv, after becoming trapped when the Irpin bridge into the city was destroyed. Footage posted online purported to show the harrowing aftermath of what military experts said was likely a drone strike on the Russian Airborne Forces column, with parts of vehicles strewn across the road in a warp, fiery heap
Two smoke clouds were filmed over the city this morning, though at least one was reported to be caused by Ukrainian forces blowing a bridge into the capital. A second was reportedly caused by a Russian cruise missile in the Troieshchyna, a north eastern suburb of the city
There were ‘long queues’ of citizens waiting to be issued weapons at recruitment centres in Kyiv after President Vlodymyr Zelensky called on Ukrainians to take up arms against Russian troops (pictured, a man with a prosthetic leg on patrol after joining the civil defense force)
Ukrainian forces (pictured training civilians to use assault rifles) have managed to half the advance of Russian troops on the capital, blowing bridges into the city to hinder the advance of Moscow’s forces
Russian forces entered Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv today after failing in their overnight efforts to seize control of the capital city of Kyiv

It comes as satellite imagery taken today showed a large deployment of Russian ground troops moving in the direction of the Ukrainian capital from approximately 40 miles (64 km) away, according to a private U.S. company.

The images released by Maxar Technologies – which has been tracking the buildup of Russian forces for weeks – showed a deployment comprised of hundreds of military vehicles and extending more than 3.25 miles (5km).

The images are yet to be independently verified.

As another bout of intense battle looms, Kyiv’s mayor was filled with pride over his citizens’ spirit but remains anxious about how long they can hold out.

After a gruelling night of Russian attacks on the outskirts of the city, mayor Vitali Klitschko was silent for several seconds when asked if there were plans to evacuate civilians if Russian troops managed to take Kyiv.

‘We can’t do that, because all ways are blocked,’ he finally said. ‘Right now we are encircled.’

When Russian troops invaded Ukraine on Thursday, the city of 2.8 million people initially reacted with concern but also a measure of self-possession.

However, nerves started fraying when grocery stores began closing and the city’s famously deep subway system turned its stations into bomb shelters.

The mayor confirmed to AP that nine civilians in Kyiv had been killed so far, including one child.

A Klitschko-ordered curfew began at about sundown on Saturday and is to extend until at least 8am on Monday.

His order pointedly stated that any unauthorised person outside could be considered a saboteur.

‘We are hunting these people, and it will be much easier if nobody is on the street,’ Klitschko explained, saying that six Russian ‘saboteurs’ were killed Saturday night.

Russian troops’ advance on the city has been slower than many military experts had expected.

‘I just talked to the president [Volodymyr Zelensky]. Everybody is not feeling so well,’ Klitschko said, adding that the Ukrainian city government employees were in shock but not depressed.

‘We show our character, our knowledge, our values.’

In the last few days, long queues of people – both men and women – were spotted waiting to pick up weapons throughout the capital, after authorities decided to distribute weapons freely to anybody ready to defend the city.

Klitschko added: ‘There are concerns, however, about arming nervous civilians with little military experience amid warnings of Russian saboteurs disguised as Ukrainian police or journalists.

‘To be honest, we don’t have 100% control,’ said Klitschko. ‘We built this territorial defense in a short amount of time – but these are patriotic people.’

‘Right now, the most important question is to defend our country,’ he added.

Responding to a question about the city’s capacity to replenish dwindling stocks of food and medicine, Klitscho’s view darkened, however.

‘We are at the border of a humanitarian catastrophe,’ he said. ‘Right now, we have electricity, right now we have water and heating in our houses. But the infrastructure is destroyed to deliver the food and medication.

Ukrainian forces in Kyiv had been optimistic on Sunday morning after surviving a ‘brutal’ night of shelling and destroying a column of Russian vehicles in the city’s northwest.

They managed to halt the advance of Russian troops on the capital, partly by blowing up bridges into the city.

Russian forces were neutralised on Sunday afternoon in Bucha, near the Gostomel air base in the north west of Kyiv, after becoming trapped when the Irpin bridge was destroyed.

Footage posted online purported to show the harrowing aftermath of what military experts said was likely a drone strike on the Russian Airborne Forces column, with parts of vehicles strewn across the road in a warp, fiery heap.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian servicemen were pictured roaming in the centre of Kyiv to enforce a 39-hour curfew to keep people off the streets.

And by Sunday afternoon Ukrainian military officials were warning Belarusian special forces were preparing for air assaults of the capital – in a sign Alexander Lukashenko has officially joined the Russian-waged war.

Meanwhile President Vlodymyr Zelensky repeatedly called on citizens and foreigners to take up arms to defend the country.

Ukraine’s defence ministry today echoed the call for foreigners to come forward to join its armed forces and fight back Putin’s army.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba urged people to contact his department.

‘Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin too,’ he said in a Twitter post this morning.

Pharmacies had queues of more than an hour and were running out of basic first aid supplies including bandages, antiseptics and antibiotics by early on Sunday while most shops had closed and ATMs were out of cash.

Russian forces appeared to be focusing their assault on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city in the east of the country on Sunday morning, with fierce street-to-street fighting breaking out between Kyiv’s forces and Russian troops.

It came after an oil depot Vasylkiv Air Base, 25 miles south west of Kyiv, was burned to the ground in the early hours of Sunday after it was hit by a Russian missile strike as the capital held firm.

President Zelensky has warned Russian plans on ‘attacking everything’ in the country in a bid to conquer the state.

On Sunday morning, it emerged Russian missiles hit a nuclear waste disposal site outside of Kyiv – and destroyed the equipment that can detect leaks of radioactive material, as it was revealed that at least 240 Ukrainian civilians have been killed.

Ukrainian news site TSN said at least one child, a six-year-old boy, had been killed after the Okhmadyt children’s cancer hospital in Kyiv was struck by artillery fire on Sunday morning, reports.

The Kyiv Independent said that at least two children and two adults were wounded in the attack while a picture allegedly showing material covering the body of a child was shared by former Ukrainian ambassador Olexander Scherba.

However the New York Times has rebuffed the claims, saying that while gunfire had been heard near to the hospital, it had not been targeted by artillery fire.

Local newspaper The Kyiv Independent wrote that an oil depot had been blown up at Vasylkiv Air Base. The city which sits around 40 kilometers south west of Kyiv, close to a key airport.

Ukraine’s president said he was ready for peace talks with Russia just not in Belarus – which was a staging ground for Moscow’s invasion.

Speaking in a video message Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy named Warsaw, Bratislava, Istanbul, Budapest or Baku as alternative venues.

He said other locations are also possible but made clear that Ukraine doesn’t accept Russia’s selection of Belarus.

The Kremlin said Sunday that a Russian delegation had arrived in the Belarusian city of Homel for talks with Ukrainian officials. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the delegation includes military officials and diplomats.

‘The Russian delegation is ready for talks, and we are now waiting for the Ukrainians,’ Peskov said.

Putin is said to be growing increasingly angry by his stalled efforts to conquer Ukraine. His fire and manpower vastly outnumbers that of Ukraine, and it is widely believed that Russia will eventually conquer its neighbour.

But the surprisingly effective defense being mounted by the smaller nation has badly tarnished Russian military prestige, with the Kremlin still a way-off their objective of seizing the capital of Kyiv and installing its own government.

Source: Daily Mail

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