Armed citizens defend their town from Russian forces

Armed citizens defend their town from Russian forces
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

The Battle of Vosnesensk may not end up in a lot of history books (well, at least those written outside of Ukraine), but the fight over the southern Ukrainian city of about 30,000 people is something that Second Amendment supporters should be aware of.

The BBC calls the fight to control the city “one of the most decisive battles of the war so far,” and armed citizens played a big role in keeping the city and a strategically important bridge out of Russian hands.

“It was a colossal effort by the whole town,” said Alexander, a local shopkeeper who filmed himself on the frontlines with an AK47, screaming “Come on my little beauties!” as another volunteer fired a rocket-propelled grenade towards Russian positions.

“We used hunting rifles, people threw bricks and jars. Old women loaded heavy sandbags.

“The Russians didn’t know where to look or where the next attack would come from. I’ve never seen the community come together like that,” he said, standing by the twisted wreckage of the bridge, which Ukrainian forces destroyed within hours of the first Russian attack.

You can see Alexander in action in the BBC video below:

The Battle of Voznesensk took place about three weeks ago, in the early days of the Russian invasion, and since that time the town has remained in Ukrainian hands, though mayor Yevheni Velichko says he’s concerned that another attack is “imminent”.

“This is such a strategic location. We’re not only defending the town, but all the territory behind it. And we don’t have the heavy weapons our enemy has,” he said.

While the good people of Voznesensk utilized every weapon on hand, down to hunting rifles to rocks, Territorial Defense Forces were also able to call on St. Javelin for assistance.

As on so many frontlines in Ukraine, British-supplied anti-tank missiles proved crucial in turning the tide against Russian armour in Voznesensk, leaving the town littered with up to 30 tanks, armoured cars and even a helicopter.

“It’s only thanks to these weapons that we were able to beat our enemy here. And we say thank you to our partners for their support. But we need more. The enemy’s convoys will keep coming,” said Mr Velichko.

More anti-tank missiles have been promised by the U.K.’s Boris Johnson, and hopefully they’ll quickly get to where they need to be, including in the hands of the defenders of Voznesensk.

Radio Free Europe also reported from the town after the battle had concluded, and spoke to one man who showed reporters some of the dozens of Russian casualties from the attempted assault on the city (warning: graphic content).

“If you saw their vehicles that were destroyed by our arms, they were burned inside. We didn’t have time to collect them. There are lots of them lying around Voznesensk,” the man told reporters. Other residents, like Gaenko, shared their own stories about the Russian incursion into the town, telling RFE, “I wouldn’t even call them soldiers. A**holes. I have no words.”

“I guess Putin and his aides decided we have no right to exist, no right to live,” she continued, adding “they showed no mercy.”

And in return, the defenders of Voznesensk showed no willingness to cede an inch of their town.

I don’t know if there’ll be a Second Battle of Voznesensk, but if there is I’m putting my money on the citizen soldiers and the armed citizens. Even if the Russians manage to take the town, something tells me they’re going find it hell on earth if they try to occupy it.