Ukrainians in Independence Square in Kiev once protested against their own government, but now protest against Russian aggression. Andriy Parubiy, secretary of Security and Defense Council, told people they need all the help they can get and Ukrainians are ready to fight.
“I’m a lieutenant of reserve,” said Andry Cherin, a 29-year-old scientist. “I will go to the recruitment office. I’m against war, but there are no other choice, we need to defend our country. This is our land.”
“Russians don’t need war,” he added. “I think there are only Putin’s ambitions.”
Liudmyla Naumenko, a 50-year-old philologist, added: “They [the Russians] were calling us their brothers, and now they are going to kill us. I have a 23-year-old son I’m very worried about him. But I spoke to him today and told him that he needs to go and defend the country.”
But with western support an unlikely contingency, many Ukrainians were looking to protect themselves. “I’m 80, but I will take a gun and will be defending my land,” Leonid Kravchuk, independent Ukraine’s first president, wrote on his blog.
While the full attention is on Crimea, the locals in Kiev are worried about pro-Russia residents taking over important Ukraine cities in the east. Russian flags were raised in at least two cities and a video was released of Ukrainians forced to march through a pro-Russia crowd and were beaten with sticks. Protests were held in Kharkov, Odessa, Dnipro and Donetsk.