From night ambushes and drone strikes, to the deliberate sabotage of bridges, roads and railways, the unconventional tactics of the Ukrainians helped to prevent Russian forces from launching a lightning strike on the capital in the first phase of the attack. feed. British news.
With the war now raging for about two and a half months, any attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to claim on Monday’s annual Victory Day that his invasion of Ukraine has succeeded has so far been thwarted.
The first struggle Russia launched on February 24 for control of Kiev was very fierce and lasted for five weeks, mobilizing Ukrainian forces, border guards and volunteers against one of the most powerful armies in the world, after defense experts entered its territory. expected a few days. .
But Putin’s failure to storm the capital forced him to change his plans and withdraw from a number of sites to regroup, and now head east.
Even in the areas occupied by the Russians in the south and east of the country, the invading forces are facing an expensive war of attrition, according to Sky News.
“Here we heard that the war had begun.”
When a drone dropped explosives on a group of tents in northern Ukraine along the Belarusian border on Feb. 24 at 4:30 a.m., where border guards camped while they slept, Officer Artem Lazutin, 41, and his comrades quickly realized that war had broken out.
The officer and border guards took up defensive positions along a major highway bridge as well as a railway bridge, both of which led to Belarus across the Dnipro River. “That afternoon, in cooperation with the army, we blew up the bridges with mines to prevent any Russian vehicles from crossing.”
However, the sheer volume of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, trucks and other elements of Russian military machinery was beyond the ability of the defenders.
Border guards were largely withdrawn, which helped defend large northern cities such as Chernihiv, while a number of personnel ended up behind enemy lines at the same time. From there, they risked their lives by providing information about the movements and locations of Russian sites.
The Russian army targeted Kyiv and the north of the country per country from various access points, moving from Belarus, through the Chernobyl and Chernihiv regions in the north, and from Russia, through the Sumy region in the northeast of Ukraine.
He also launched an air strike to try to capture what should have been a key target on the first day, an airfield in an area called “Hostomel”, about 12 miles northwest of Kiev.
Some of Russia’s best paratroopers landed from helicopters in a vast rural area outside the air base, while others tried to land directly at the facility.
The Russians wanted to seize the civilian airport so that they could land their transport planes, which would transport hundreds of soldiers who would then take part in the attack on Kiev.
But the Ukrainian forces had other plans.
When a commander in charge of helping defend the airport saw Russian helicopters at low altitude around 11:00 a.m., he and his soldiers opened fire and at least three more helicopters crashed into the air.
Then his soldiers also had to face the landing paratroopers.
The commander, who refused to be named, and the network posted a photo of him wearing a black mask and behind him a destroyed Russian troop carrier: “We shot them as long as we had ammunition, and when our artillery on the runway aimed at damaging it, “noting that it” prevented the enemy from landing his transport aircraft. ”
As soon as the ammunition ran out, the commander withdrew his forces.
The airport and its surrounding area on the outskirts of the capital became a critical front line for the next five weeks as the Battle of Kiev intensified.
Initially, a large 40-mile line of Russian armored vehicles pressed on Kiev, amid warnings that the capital could soon fall.
But it turns out that the rope stopped for a few days and then spread after being attacked in the form of guerrilla warfare.
Ukrainian defenders said remote-controlled mines were used to target a number of vehicles.
Civil technical expertise
Meanwhile, small groups of fighters, some of whom used quad bikes, night-vision goggles, drones and sniper rifles, braved Russian positions, hit them and then drove away, according to the commander familiar with the missions, Jaroslav Honshar.
“Like the ‘Mad Max’ characters, we used quad bikes because they are very mobile, you can get close to some places and come back quickly,” Honchar said.
These attacks were aimed at Russian logistics and supply lines such as food and fuel depots, because without access to essential supplies, “the strongest army will not be able to survive.”
Honchar is the co-founder of a civilian non-governmental organization called “Eurorzhvedka” (“Aerial Reconnaissance”) in Ukraine, which was created after Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Aerosvidka uses the technical skills of civilians, with backgrounds in fields such as engineering and information technology, to strengthen Ukraine’s defense by developing smart technology.
Honchar and his companions are an example of how civilian volunteers played an important role in the Ukrainian war effort, along with professional military personnel, where drones armed with cameras and armed with explosives were a key weapon against Russia’s superior firepower.
The organization posted a number of videos on YouTube of Ukrainian drones destroying Russian targets.
A member of the reconnaissance unit, Vadim, who only asked for his first name, says the importance of “the drones is that they can locate the enemy’s armored vehicles, which is very important information because these sites can then be targeted directly.”
Vadim himself developed a model of eight-blade drones, similar to helicopters, used by Ukrainian forces.
Destruction of river crossings
The more orthodox Ukrainian forces were also decisive in defending the capital.
Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Kupzarenko led an artillery battalion that helped prevent the invading forces from crossing the Irbin River in the village of Gorinka on the outskirts of Kiev.
“If the Russian forces succeed in entering Gorinka, it will mean that nothing will stop them from reaching Kiev, 90 percent,” he said.
Ukrainian forces led by Kupzarenko destroyed the river crossings before targeting Russian positions with fire.
The commander said that his forces possessed British and other Western weapons, including anti-tank missiles, and noted that they had proved their effectiveness and importance in the battle as “it was difficult (…) to repel the Russian forces without it. . ”
“We will never be defeated”
Asked if he had a message for President Putin ahead of Russia’s annual Victory Day on Monday, Kopzarenko said: “We know they planned or dreamed of holding a show in Kiev on May 9, and they wanted to.” make an absurd theater and show the world that they are They have won, now I understand that they want to reduce their enthusiasm and ambitions a little and at least show their victory somewhere, in Mariupol, or in Eastern Ukraine.But Ukraine will never be defeated. ”
He added: “We will persevere and stand firm to the end. This is our land and we do not claim their land, but we will not give up our land.”