Conflicts & War

As Russia amasses troops on border, fears and support grow in Ukraine

By Olga Tokariuk

Kiev, Apr 14 (EFE).- The United States, NATO and the European Union have called on Russia to de-escalate and withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border while officials in Kiev claim that Ukraine is ready to defend itself in case of a new Russian escalation in the war.

The conflict has been raging in eastern Ukraine for seven years, since Russia began sending arms, personnel and money to support self-proclaimed separatist republics in the Donbas, and fears are growing that it might escalate to levels unseen since 2014-2015.

But what is the mood in Ukraine and how does it prepare for a new Russian offensive, both on the frontline and at the rear?

Irina Guk arranges packages she is about to send to the frontline at her home in a suburb of Kiev.

She calls herself ‘“a volunteer on maternity leave,” as her primary occupation for the last 10 months has been caring for her little daughter.

But as tragic news about dead and wounded Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline started to arrive almost daily, she felt she had to return to dedicate most of her attention to what she has been doing since 2014 as a volunteer: raising money and supplying the Ukrainian military with first aid kits.

“I received many new requests of help in the recent days,” Irina tells Efe. “My private messages folder is bursting. Medical workers on the frontline ask me to provide them more supplies so they can get ready for eventual new attacks.”

Irina is one of many volunteers who have been helping the Ukrainian military to defend the country from Russian aggression since 2014.

After two decades of neglect, Ukraine’s armed forces lay in ruin back then, unprepared to face a much stronger adversary.

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