War Comes to Kyiv

War Comes to Kyiv | The New Yorker, Joshua Yaffa

Interesting article that showed up in my inbox. This is a copy and paste ot it with minor editing. If you follow the link, there are other short articles to be read. I believe the takeaway from this article is the courage of Zelensky. The Ukraine will fall apart without him. Can the Russians be this bad militarily?

The road into Kyiv is lined with military checkpoints, many of which are manned by local volunteers from whatever town the highway passes through. In the outskirts of the city on Saturday morning, I stopped to get out at one, an improvised construction of cement blocks and sand bags, and was greeted with wary suspicion by a sizable middle – aged man with a silver beard. He told me that he was a veteran of Ukraine’s war against Russian proxy forces in the Donbass region and, for the last several months, had been preparing for an invasion: gathering together other veterans in the area, securing supplies, deciding who would do what when the attack came. I asked whether he thought their makeshift barrier could impede a Russian assault.

“We won’t just be shooting from here,” he said. “But from the houses, from the yards, from the basement – we’ll be spread out everywhere. We know this place. It’s ours.”

Closer to Kyiv, the checkpoints were manned by professional soldiers who seemed uninterested in wasting time, and we were quickly on our way. As we rode into town, the streets were marked with an ominous quiet. Kyiv was hit with missile and rocket strikes from the very start of Russia’s invasion, on February 24th; that same day, Russian paratroopers tried to capture a military airfield just outside city limits—an attack that was initially successful, then repelled, and then, if reports are to be believed, ultimately decisive. The northern suburbs have seen ongoing gun battles. It is clear that Russia’s invasion has little to do with the unresolved war in the Donbass, which had been seen as an obvious pretext, and is instead focused on regime change. To remove Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, and install a pliant, pro-Russia replacement, however, requires taking the capital.