Watch CBS News

Kyiv residents say they're "not ready to give up" as they're given guns to help defend their city

Zelensky: Russia will soon try to storm Kyiv
Russia will soon try to storm Kyiv, Ukrainian president says 03:25

Kyiv, UkraineUkraine's Minister of Defense had issued a call for civilians between 18 and 60 to take up arms to help defend the country, but on Friday, as Russian troops got closer to the center of the city, he asked anyone over the age of 18 to volunteer. The government has also banned men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving Ukraine.

CBS News saw a steady stream of people entering one makeshift recruitment center in Kyiv on Friday morning, ready to join the fight.

Georgiy, 44, a mapmaker by trade, speaks to CBS News outside a military recruitment center for volunteers in Kyiv, Ukraine, as he shows up to help defend the city from Russia's invading forces, February 25, 2022. CBS

"This is my country. I have my family here, and I have a duty to protect my family and to protect my country. And this is the duty of each and every Ukrainian," 44-year-old Georgiy, a mapmaker by trade who was arriving to help defend Kyiv, told CBS News.

When asked if Ukraine was ready to fight, he said: "We will fight as much as we can. We will fight because we have our families… our country and our lifestyle that we are not ready to give up."

A commander at the center, who did not want to be identified, told CBS News that thousands of people had arrived to fight, but that many did not have any military experience. He said there were not enough guns to go around.

"Citizens of Kyiv are gathering here. They are receiving weapons here and guidelines how to run urban combat, how to provide medical first aid, and how to destroy Russians and take their weapons," he said.

Volunteers, one holding an AK-47 rifle, protect a main road leading into Kyiv on February 25, 2022. DANIEL LEAL/AFP/Getty

The Mayor of Kyiv said on Friday that the city was in "defense phase," and that, though the situation was "difficult," the military would defend the capital.

The commander told CBS News that groups of fighters would be spread throughout the city. When asked if they were ready to fight street-by-street combat, he said: "They are ready to die."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.