Ukraine conflict: Residents of Dnipro jolt into action terrified but coping

Residents of Dnipro jolt into action terrified but coping
English teacher Arina is now spending her weekend making Molotov cocktails in a park/image courtesy ...

Arina had planned a dance class after work and then a party on the day Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine. Instead, the English teacher made Molotov cocktails in a park three days later.

One of BBC reporters discovered her huddled on the grass with dozens of other women, grating polystyrene chunks like cheese and ripping sheets into rags for homemade bottle bombs.

For most people in Europe, such scenes are unimaginable. They were once unthinkable here as well.

However, Dnipro is now preparing to defend itself against Russian troops approaching.

“No one expected this to be how we’d spend our weekend, but it appears to be the only important thing to do now,” Arina said, her face and hair covered in white dust from the polystyrene.

“It’s quite frightening. I believe we aren’t fully aware of what we’re doing; all we need to do is act ” she stated Elena and Yulia, who were a few meters away, told me they’d left their children with grandparents so they could help make these weapons.

“Sitting at home doing nothing would be even scarier,” Elena continued, barely pausing her grating.

She jokes that she’s a good cook and that the process isn’t that dissimilar.

“I can’t believe it’s happening to us, but we don’t have a choice. We were never consulted on anything “Elena remarked.

This entire city appears to have been jolted into action.

Donated clothes, blankets, and buckwheat are piled high on the steps of a nearby hall. Then, as volunteers yell instructions on where to put everything, a steady stream of people arrive with more – including gasoline, water, and toiletries.

The supplies are for Ukrainian fighters and anyone who has been forced to flee from fighting elsewhere to Dnipro.

But it’s also a reserve if the strategic city falls victim to a siege.

Five women and a few social media posts kicked off the massive effort.

Hundreds of people are now coordinating a massive aid effort that appears chaotic but is anything but.

A separate line stretches far into the distance for those who want to get a weapon and sign up to fight.

Katerina Leonova told one of BBC reporters, her phone unglued from her ear for a brief moment, “The official organizations couldn’t cope, so we created this center.”

“Is [Putin] really convinced that he can take over Ukraine and turn it into Russia? We’re not afraid here. We are enraged “she stated

The cost of this war has already been felt in Dnipro.

The military hospital’s 400 beds are all full, and the staff is now dealing with hundreds of casualties every day. So they’ve set up camp beds in the corridors to deal with the influx.

“I believe we’ve reached a pinnacle. On all sides of us, there is conflict “Sergei Bachinsky, a hospital spokesman, told me, his voice quiet and urgent.

“We used to be able to pinpoint the exact location of the clashes and prepare to receive the injured even before they were airlifted to us. The flow is now constant.”

The military cannot use helicopters because Russian forces will shoot them down. It takes much longer to get to urgent care by car.

On the other hand, Sergei insisted that morale was high, even among the wounded.

“Even men with burns or concussions want to return to their units and fight,” he explained.

Two buses full of soldiers pulled out of the hospital gates few minutes as they spoke. The walking wounded were being moved to facilities in other parts of Ukraine, freeing up beds near the front lines.

There are plenty of supplies available to them. People constantly bring bags of medicines, syringes, and bandages to the hospital. One man handed over an old pair of crutches to one of BBC reporters. Nothing was turned down.

Dnipro is holding its own. The entire city is rallying behind you. However, everyone is feeling the strain.

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