Russia has renewed its assault on Ukraine’s crowded cities with skylines lit up with balls of fire over populated areas, even as both sides said they were ready to resume talks aimed at stopping the new devastating war in Europe.
The escalation of attacks on Wednesday followed an initial round of talks between outgunned Ukraine and nuclear power Russia which resulted in only a promise to meet again.
It was not clear when new talks might take place — or what they would yield.
Ukraine’s leader, meanwhile, has denounced Russia’s escalation of attacks as a blatant terror campaign, while US president Joe Biden warned that if the Russian leader didn’t “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression would not stop with one country.
“Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky vowed after Tuesday’s bloodshed on the central square in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, and the deadly bombing of a TV tower in the capital.
Writing in the Times, Lawrence Freedman said that despite the superiority of Russian forces, they have made “less progress than might have been expected” even though they had the advantages of tactical surprise and potentially overwhelming numbers.
“The Ukrainians demonstrated a spirited resistance and imposed casualties on the invaders,” he said, adding that it is now “reasonable to ask if President Putin has launched an unwinnable war”.
Throughout the assault, videos have emerged showing Ukrainians demonstrate a remarkable spirit that has resonated deeply with many people across the world.
We’ve rounded up five videos that prove that regardless of what Russia achieves on the battlegrounds, Putin will never break Ukrainian resilience.
The sunflower woman
A video of a woman confronting a soldier on the street was one of the first to go viral on social media.
The ‘freedom-fighter’ is being hailed for her bravery after she confronted a heavily-armed guard and offered him sunflower seeds — so that they might bloom when he dies.
She said: “You are occupants, you are fascists!
“What the fuck are you doing on our land with all these guns?”
Watch the clip in full below:
Want a tow?
Footage of a Ukrainian driver asking stranded Russian soldiers if he could “tow them back to Russia” was next to make the rounds on social media.
The man can be seen driving towards the Russian tank and stopping beside it.
According to translations on Twitter, the Russians tell the driver they are out of gas. The driver replies offering to tow them back to Russia. They can all be heard laughing.
An elderly man was filmed confronting Russian soldiers on the road as they made moves into Ukraine.
The man, who is of Russian descent, told the military personnel they are “like they are kids” in a blistering attack, adding that he is disgusted with their behaviour.
The soldiers could only stand silently and listen as he tore into them.
According to a translation posted by freelance reporter Olga Tokariuk on Twitter, he is saying: “What the f*** are you doing here?
“I am Russian too, but I live in this state. You have your country, we have ours.
“Don’t you have problems in your country to solve?
Taking on tanks
Videos shared on social media show citizens forming a human barricade in front of the advancing artillery, despite being completely unarmed and unprotected.
Footage has also emerged showing another group of fearless Ukrainians leaping on a Russian military vehicle while waving blue and yellow flags.
And finally, one from the leader himself.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave “one of the most remarkable speeches ever made” as his country prepared for war with Russia.
He said: “I am addressing you not as a president, I am addressing you as a citizen of Ukraine,” in the address, which won the hearts of millions around the world.