Live Updates: Ukraine-Russia War – The New York Times

The accounts of resistance within the small garrison city of Vasylkiv have already taken on the sheen of legend. There are experiences of Russian transport planes shot down, paratroopers hunted within the woods and even an unknown Ukrainian pilot nicknamed the Ghost of Kyiv defending the skies.

Hyperboles apart, the folks of this quiet provincial city of tree-lined streets and low-rise buildings relationship to the Russian empire managed to battle off Russian troops within the important opening days of the battle, stopping Russian forces from capturing strategic bases that might have allowed the nation’s capital, Kyiv, to be encircled.

Vasylkiv, residence to an aviation college that has skilled generations of pilots, a counterterrorism job pressure and an air protection command heart that protects the capital and central Ukraine, turned one of many first targets of a Russian assault within the first hours and days of the battle. Cruise missiles slammed into the air base, after which Russian airborne forces attacked in a sequence of floor assaults.

They didn’t prevail. Accounts from residents, authorities officers, armed forces personnel and civilians who’ve enlisted territorial protection models described how Ukraine rebuffed the Russian assault and helped forestall Russia’s wider goals to grab management of the nation.

An air base was among the many first targets hit at 5 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 24, within the opening salvos of the battle. The strikes broken buildings, tools and air protection programs.

Russian airborne troops had been dropped into close by villages and started an assault, native officers and officers stated. The Russian troopers attacked throughout an air raid, utilizing it to their benefit as Ukrainian troops took cowl in bomb shelters.

“After the airstrikes, they tried to check the perimeter,” stated one air pressure officer concerned in preventing, talking given that he solely be recognized by his rank — a significant — and his army code identify, [email protected] “They tried to sneak inside they usually managed.”

For safety causes, the officer didn’t specify precisely the place the battles befell, besides to say the Kyiv area.

By the fourth night time of the battle, the Russian attackers had regrouped and had been higher organized, stated the air pressure officer, [email protected], a member of the short response unit that was concerned within the battle.

He stated the Russians had been geared up with assault rifles, silencers and night time imaginative and prescient goggles, enabling to them to assault in the dead of night.

“At 4 a.m., when the preventing began our guard was shot silently, within the head, in full darkness,” he stated.

A fierce firefight broke out because the Russians entered the compound, he stated. The Ukrainians swiftly misplaced six males killed, with two wounded. However with correct hearth and hurling grenades, he stated they managed to kill 5 of the attackers and wound a sixth, forcing the remaining Russians to retreat.

“We’re fortunate they didn’t know the right way to throw grenades correctly,” [email protected] stated of the Russians. “If they’d managed to throw grenades, it could be very unhappy,” suggesting the Ukrainians may have been overrun.

The Russians appeared to have had again up, as a result of there have been indicators they dragged their lifeless and wounded with them. “We noticed the blood stains however discovered no our bodies,” [email protected] stated. They even retrieved their shell casings, he stated.

He stated he was the one Ukrainians with a thermal imaging night time imaginative and prescient and was capable of shoot three of the attackers. He mourned his misplaced comrades, who he stated didn’t have the identical benefit. “The toughest factor, as all the time, is to lose your mates,” he stated.

After that battle on Feb. 26, the Ukrainians noticed scouts conducting reconnaissance across the perimeter of their bases, however the Russians didn’t mount any additional assaults. Then, a few week in the past, they disappeared altogether.

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