‘We will stand for our city.’ Ukrainian city of Rivne mayor speaks to News 12 about arming citizens
As Russian forces continue their advance on Kyiv and bombardment of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s president is asking NATO for a no-fly zone over the country. It comes as Ukrainian citizens are preparing to defend themselves against the Russian invasion.
The request for the no-fly zone is a non-starter at the Pentagon. To make it work, not only would all the NATO countries likely have to be on board. But the Russian surface-to-air missiles in western Russia would have to be eliminated by NATO airpower.
Most of the fighting so far has been in the east of Ukraine. But air raids are happening everywhere.
“We couldn’t even imagine that such a terrible war will happen in our country. This is something terrible,” says Mayor Oleksandr Tretyak.
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Tretyak is the mayor of the city of Rivne, with a population of around 245,000. The mayor and his council made a decision on Tuesday.
“We decided that everyone should fight for the city,” Tretyak says.
The decision comes amid air raid warnings, fortifying bomb shelters and a Russian missile attack on the city’s airport. Tretyak, 36, has been in office for just over a year. He is now supervising handing out weapons to any resident who wants to defend the town.
“We will just give a gun. We have enough guns, so we will protect and we will stand for our city,” Tretyak says.
The town turned out on Tuesday afternoon for a funeral for a solider from Rivne who was killed while fighting with the Russians in Kyiv.
“This solider, this hero, was fighting for our capital city, Kyiv,” Tretyak says.
The capital city is located a little more than three hours away from Rivne. Residents and police are building barricades to stop the Russians that they believe will inevitably come to the city.
“We have to stop them. Actually, we have to do everything to stop them,” Tretyak syas. “I believe that my country will survive and will prosper.”