Stripper queues up for AK47 as Ukrainian civilians ready to resist Russian army

Russian troops continue to advance across Ukraine, and despite slower progress than originally anticipate few military analysts doubt that if Russian leader Vladimir Putin were to unleash the full weight of his country’s formidable war machine the Ukrainian army would face defeat.

But taking Ukraine is one thing. Holding the country would be another.

Hundreds of ordinary Ukrainian citizens are taking up arms against the invader, and could form the backbone of an almost ungovernable resistance against Kremlin rule.

Male stripper Grigory Mamchur was just one of dozens of people queueing up on the streets of Kyiv for an AK-47 and some ammunition.

“There wasn’t even anything to think about,” said Grigory, 40. “We will defend the country however we can. This could be our last chance.”

Denis Matash is the manager of Milk nightclub, where Grigory danced before the city was locked down. He says “everybody in our country needs to defend — women, girls, everybody”.

“I don’t think [the Russian troops] understand where they came,” he added. “Look at what is happening here.”

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Business manager Olena Sokolan has also signed up to join Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Force: “When I heard the explosions I decided that I am ready,” she told the New York Times. “I am an adult woman, I am healthy and it’s my responsibility.”

In an official statement, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential chief of staff, said: “In the city itself, the territorial defence detachments are working quite effectively.

“It turned out that people are coming out, defending their homes. It wasn’t expected by analysts of the Russian General Staff.”

Ihor Zhaloba, a 58-year-old university professor turned Territorial Defence Forcevolunteer, says his family fears for his safety, but believes he’s doing the right thing.

“My wife worried; I worried; everybody is worried,” he says. “But nobody told me not to do this, not my wife, not my daughters. They all think I should be here.”

By contrast, many Russian don’t think they should be there.

Ukraine’s defence ministry claims that Russia has already suffered more than 3,000 casualties with captured troops reporting low morale among the invaders.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ability to resist the invasion is growing On Saturday Germany announced that it would supply Ukrainian troops with 1,000 anti-tank weapons as well as 500 Stinger missiles from its own military reserves.

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