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.