‘This is our land and I’ve no other option than to fight for it’: The bar manager, the IT expert and the army of Ukrainian mums readying to go to war with Putin

Maksym Bilyk is a young man who thinks carefully before speaking, works with computers and has never fired a gun in his life after avoiding national service in the military due to a stomach ulcer.

But the 26-year-old, who lives in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, responds instantly when I ask how he might act if there is an invasion of his country by the huge numbers of Russian tanks and troops massing over the border less than 30 miles away.

‘I would take up arms and go to the battlefield without slightest hesitation,’ he said. ‘No one wants to fight but if there is aggression against us, we must fight back.’

Bilyk admitted being scared living so close to the border. ‘The idea of taking up firearms and going into a battle is unsettling. I want to live in peace. But this is our land. We have nowhere else to go. So there is no other option but to fight for it.’

Countless people are wondering what to do in the event of an attack. Some are stocking up on food or contemplating flight – but others are preparing to confront one of the world’s most powerful combat machines.

They range from idealists such as Bilyk to battle-hardened veterans of the eight-year conflict that has dragged on in eastern Ukraine.

One Kharkiv city councillor told me he was planning to move his wife and two sons to Lithuania if Russia invades, then head to the frontlines with a rifle for which he has a hunting permit.

‘If I buy a sniper rifle, it must be for hunting. But what you hunt, well, that’s another question,’ said Oleg Abramychev, 35, an events organiser.

Ukrainian is a complicated place.

The eastern portion is Russian speaking, has a Russian ethnic majority, and is home to pro Russain separatists.

The Western region is ethnically Ukrainian and has a long standing grievance against Russia.

If Putin make more moves into Ukrainian, I forsee the eruption of a combination of resistance war and civil war.  Western Ukrainians taking arms against invading Russians and pro Russain Eastern Ukrainians.

The next question is how far west does Putin try and conquer?  Does he “liberate” pro Russian Eastern Ukraine and stop or does he try and take the whole thing and end up fighting a civilian resistance as well as the Ukrainian military.

Believe me that there are a lot of Ukrainians raised on the stories of what Stalin did and want to avenge Grandma and Grandpa by stacking Russian soldiers.

What I can be sure of is that the original Crimean War was described as “notoriously incompetent international butchery” and I have a feeling this new one will be the same.


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By J. Kb

19 thoughts on “The ugly situation in Ukraine”
  1. There is a lot of panicky news from our government about Ukraine and Russia. Weapons finally being shipped to Ukraine, ships moving, troops being put on alert.

    My Question: Is the Biden Government panicking, or are they trying to panic us, the general public?

    1. The Ukraine Government itself does not seem worried?


      I don’t know what to think? Britain and several other NATO members were rushing arms and ammo to Ukraine over the weekend. We even ended our Biden ban on lethal military aid and airshipped weapons to Ukraine last week. France and Germany announce urgent peace talks for this week? I think French and German goals are to make sure Russia keeps sending them natural gas. they have a huge energy shortage right now because Solar and Wind are not producing enough power.

  2. Re “pro Russian separatists” in the East, I wonder if that is real or just communist propaganda. We know there are a lot of “little green men” there, which means Russian undercover soldiers. And I recently read that they have imposed conscription on the locals to add manpower to the eastern army, But whether there is a significant number of actual indigenous third column support, as opposed to propaganda, is an open question as far as I can see.

    One problem for Ukraine is that Germany appears to be firmly on the side of Russia, and France is not far behind.

    1. Germany is on no-ones side 😀

      Germany still thinks that is has some say in how the things are handled, it thinks it’s opinion has some gravitas 😀

      The political class and the media has been against Russia for quite some years now. To claim that Germany is firmly on the side of Russia is simply wrong.

      Or government is just stupid.

      1. Weasel — if that is so, why did Germany deny Ukraine weapons that Estonia wanted to supply them? The argument “it’s because we invaded Ukraine back in 1941” is obvious garbage. The only plausible explanation is that the Motolov-Ribbentrop pact has been reactivated.

        1. That’s because you only read half the statements in the news and extrapolated from there – in the wrong directions.

          Germany does not allow weapons to be send to war zones and areas with civil unrest (that they violated against that many times themselves is a different topic) – they restricted themselves because they don’t want to play the part of the agressor again (the logic or lack thereof is of no issue here).

          The guns Estonia wants to supply to the Ukraine were from the inventory of the NVA and thus Germany and sold to Finland under the order that they will not be supplied into a war torn country (again, don’t mind the lack of logic). Even though they changed hands after that does not alter the fact (again, stupid but it is like it is – I’M LOOKING AT YOU, ITAR!).
          So Germany needs to give the OK for these formerly German guns and they are considering it.

          I’m not defending our shit-for-brains-government, but your logic was wrong.

          1. Not at all. I read the same data you read, I just came to a different conclusion about the motivations and integrity of the German government.

  3. ‘If I buy a sniper rifle, it must be for hunting. But what you hunt, well, that’s another question,’ said Oleg Abramychev, 35, an events organiser.

    I expect the Ukraine government will soon issue “Bear” hunting licenses, with an unlimited bag limit.

  4. There was always a russian not-so-minority on the Krim.
    No doubt there.

    But I still think – why bother? Sure, it sucks for the people living there but is it worth going to war just to support a fucking Neo-Nazi-Government that rose to power with the help of massive foreign intervention?

    How far will Putin go? No idea. But Biden simply wants to protect his investment and noone should die for that.

    1. As I pointed out the other day, the problem isn’t simply Ukraine. If it were, the right answer would be “let the Europeans sort it out, if they care”.
      The real problem is that the fate of Ukraine establishes a pattern for Iran and red China to follow. I’m not too worried about Iran; if they cause Israel too much trouble Tehran will simply end up being a glass desert. But if China gets inspired by Putin’s success, they might try to conquer Taiwan, and if that happens the world is majorly screwed. The reason is that nearly all high end chips come from Taiwan. So a Chinese conquest would mean no more PCs, no more smartphones, among many other things. That would be a problem.

      1. Bold of you to assume China would just behave if Putin does not invade 😀

        A war in the Ukraine will neither save nor condemn Taiwan.

        Another thought: When the US gets involved in the Ukraine maybe THEN China will go after Taiwan because the USA lacks the ability to fight one two fronts against equal enemies.

        1. Possible. But my reasoning is that dictators react to weakness. Hitler did, as did Stalin; I expect the same from Xi.
          They are already emboldened by the Afghanistan debacle; a Ukraine appeasement will help seal the deal.

        2. I would assume that China makes a move if we get wrapped up in Ukraine, maybe not right away, but when they feel most opportune. We are at our weakest in many decades…sock puppet for a POTUS, homeland extremely divided, and we just gave up on a really long war. And we haven’t faced an enemy on the battlefield with equivalent (or better) weapons. If we end up shooting with either Russia or China, they will find holes to exlploit. It will be much different than the middle east wars. Casualties will be much higher.

  5. As for how far Putin will go? Who knows…I read one theory that he wants to install a pro Russian government in Ukraine. He doesn’t have to conquer the entire nation. All he has to do is cause enough damage to collapse the government. After that, its more like him fighting a rebellion than a war.

  6. If I was the Ukranian government, I’d be giving out AK’s, pistols, explosives, mags, cases of ammo, instructions on how to sabotage stuff, and weatherproof plastic pipes to the population like one would hand out candy at Halloween.

    1. I’ve been saying the same thing about Taiwan. Ukraine apparently at least has some hunting culture; I have no idea if there is any firearms culture at all in Taiwan. It was a dictatorship not many decades ago so it might not; dictators don’t like armed citizens.
      But yes, the “Switzerland approach” is very badly needed. In Taiwan it actually fits well; that too is a mountainous country that is not easily accessible to a substantial invading force. You’d think that weapons in the hands of, say, 10% of the adults, combined with a few hours “NRA Basic 101” training, would make for a wonderful turkey shoot on the beaches or the dropzones.

      If things really go bad, the US should dust off the old Liberator blueprints and airdrop a million each on Ukraine and Taiwan.

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