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The battle of Irpin: Meeting the Ukrainian resistance

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In Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, a multi-faceted resistance movement is preparing to face the approaching Russian troops. Our team met Bohdan, a Ukrainian artist; Maxime, a Russian artist; and Sergiy, a Ukrainian member of the French Foreign Legion. All of them will play a role in defending their city. FRANCE 24's Cyril Payen and Georges Yazbeck report.

It's March 2022. Ukrainians are fleeing the Russian invasion en masse. Ukrainian artist Bohdan Mucha has returned to Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces are preparing for the siege of the capital.

Bohdan's artists' residence has also joined the resistance. The artists are now making Molotov cocktails. Among them is Maxime, a Russian artist who has decided to stay. He is torn between what he sees in Ukraine and the reprimands of his fellow Russians, who only believe pro-Putin propaganda. His brother is part of the invading Russian troops; he has had no news from him but suspects he is not far away.

'We will win and soon you will all be able to go home!'

Then there is Sergiy, a Ukrainian member of the French Foreign Legion, who has come all the way from France to defend his homeland. His message to Ukrainian refugees: "Don't worry, we will win and soon you will all be able to go home!"

With Russian forces controlling half the city and the fighting getting closer, Sergiy holds the frontline in the centre of Irpin with his companions. The Russian danger is very close, only 200 metres away.

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Water and electricity are increasingly scarce. Under martial law, alcohol is banned. In an underground bunker, the resistance members hear the shelling of their city. That day, 11 people are killed in Irpin, including an American journalist.

© Studio graphique France Médias Monde

Artmotion S.Africa

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