Mar 02, 2022
As Russia intensifies its deadly assault on Ukraine, civilians throughout the country are putting their lives on the line to slow the advance of invading troops and tanks.
"You can see videos or reports of people protesting, people blocking roads, and people calling on soldiers to leave."
Although a huge Russian military convoy continues to inch closer to the capital of Kyiv, Andre Kamenshikov, Ukraine director for Nonviolence International, toldDemocracy Now! on Wednesday that "people are holding out, and I think there is growing confidence that the Russian forces will not be able to take the city."
Scenes of resistance have been captured on camera in various parts of Ukraine in recent days. According to Franak Viacorka, a senior adviser to Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a video that he shared on Tuesday shows unarmed Ukrainians in Melitopol pushing Russian military vehicles back while calling the soldiers, who shoot into the air, "occupants."
\u201cIn Melitopol, unarmed Ukrainians are confronting the Russian soldiers. They are chanting "Occupants" and pushing the vehicles back.\u201d— Franak Via\u010dorka (@Franak Via\u010dorka) 1646140188
Another video, reportedly recorded in the Chernihiv region, shows Ukrainian civilians blocking Russian tanks.
In video footage that journalist Alec Luhn says was shared by the Ukrainian military, civilians are shown trying to push back Russian tanks in the Luhansk region.
According to BuzzFeed News correspondent Christopher Miller, Konotop Mayor Artem Semenikhin responded to the Russian military's demand to surrender and evacuate or be destroyed by giving a speech in which he vowed to stay and fight.
\u201cRousing speech on the public square by Konotop Mayor Artem Semenikhin, who says Russian forces surrounded the city and delivered an ultimatum: surrender and leave or be destroyed. \u201cI\u2019m for fighting them!\u201d he shouts to a roar of applause and raised fists.\u201d— Christopher Miller (@Christopher Miller) 1646221579
Ordinary Ukrainians also built makeshift barricades in an effort to prevent Russian forces from entering Enerhodar, a town in the eastern part of the country that is home to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest facility of its kind in Europe.
Video footage posted on social media and circulated by news outlets on Wednesday shows hundreds of residents and plant employees chanting defiantly in the street as Russian troops reportedly seized control of the territory surrounding the Zaporizhzhia complex, which contains six of Ukraine's 15 nuclear power reactors.
As Common Dreams reported earlier Wednesday, Russian soldiers eventually fired upon the crowd. Experts continue to warn that damage to any of Ukraine's nuclear power reactors could precipitate a disaster that jeopardizes the well-being of the entire continent.
On the seventh day of Russia's war on Ukraine, Moscow seized Kherson, a strategically important port city on the Black Sea. Elsewhere in Ukraine, the Russian military continues to escalate its attack, with airstrikes destroying civilian infrastructure in several cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city.
Speaking from a southern Kyiv suburb, Kamenshikov told Democracy Now! that he believes "there are very many ways in which people, people of Ukraine, can nonviolently resist the current aggression. And, in fact, this is happening in many, many locations where Russian troops have invaded."
"You can see videos or reports of people protesting, people blocking roads, and people calling on soldiers to leave, and so forth and so on," said Kamenshikov. "And I believe that, basically, we see both a very strong resistance of the Ukrainian military against the invasion, but we also see a general resistance of the population."
According to the Ukrainian government, more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the week since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion, though this death toll has not yet been verified.
The war has already forced nearly 875,000 refugees to flee Ukraine to neighboring countries, United Nations officials said.
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