Among the heartbreaking images of death and destruction that came out of Ukraine on Friday was an impressive photo shared by former first lady Kateryna Yushchenko of an 80-year-old man entering the army to fight for his grandchildren.
Yushchenko, who grew up in America and is married to Viktor Yushchenko, posted the photo on Twitter on Thursday evening.
“Someone posted a picture of this 80 year old man who joined the army carrying a small suitcase with two T-shirts, a pair of extra pants, a toothbrush and a few sandwiches for lunch. He said he was doing it for his grandchildren,” she said.
It’s unclear where the photo was taken, but on Friday, as Russia launched its offensive into Ukraine, it went viral around the world.
Civilians across the country took up arms against Putin’s troops.
Former first lady Kateryna Yushchenko, 80, is joining the army to fight for her grandchildren.
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday released a video showing him in downtown Kyiv with members of his cabinet.
According to him, they are determined to stay and fight alongside the men and women of the country.
“We are all here and that is how it will be,” he said.
Yushchenko grew up in Chicago and is the daughter of Ukrainian diplomats. She served in the US State Department and in the Reagan White House.
On Thursday, she and Kerry Kennedy wrote an op-ed for The Chicago Tribune asking American-Ukrainians to “spread” the truth about what is happening in the region.
It is unclear where Yushchenko now lives. In their article with Kennedy, the couple mentioned the poisoning of her husband during his 2004 campaign.
“Russia has carried out targeted attacks throughout Ukraine, horrendous acts that we condemn.
Kateryna Yushchenko is the wife of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, pictured above in 2004 when she ran for president. He was poisoned during his election campaign and for a long time believed that the Kremlin was trying to kill him and support his pro-Russian opponent.
Ukrainian soldiers take up positions on a bridge in Kyiv as Russian troops advance towards the capital.
Soldiers tasked with defending Kyiv from advancing Russian troops take up position under a highway leading into the city.
Volunteers, one of whom holds an AK-47 assault rifle, protect the main road leading to Kyiv on February 25, 2022. Ukrainian forces fight off Russian invaders on the streets of Kyiv, February 25, 2022.
A volunteer with a rifle protects the main road leading to Kyiv on February 25, 2022.
A young couple who joined the territorial defense fighters smile after receiving weapons and ammunition in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 25, 2022
Servicemen of the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine load ammunition after receiving weapons to defend the city of Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022.
“It is high time for the rest of the world to wake up. He must commit to doing more. More than when Putin invaded Georgia in 2008.
“More than in response to his illegal occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014.
“This time, the West must prepare a multi-faceted plan to support Ukrainians to ensure the “survival and success of freedom,” the article says.
The photo of the elderly man was among the many inspirational shots of Ukrainians who remained determined to fight for their country.
The Marine is hailed as a hero for blowing up a key bridge that the Russians wanted to cross near Crimea, killing himself to stop them.
The Marine was named by the General Staff of the Armed Forces Vitaly Shakun. He was on duty on the Genichesk Bridge in the Kherson region when the Russians advanced and mined it.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko holds up a Kalashnikov during an interview on Friday. He joined the civil territorial defense on the streets of Ukraine and says there are lines of people who want to help, but they do not have enough weapons.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video online on Friday evening showing him and members of his cabinet still in government offices in Kyiv. “We are all here and that is how it will be,” he said.
Vitaly Shakun was on duty at the Genichesk bridge in the Kherson region when the Russians advanced. According to a post on the Facebook page of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the battalion decided that the only way to stop them was to blow up the bridge.
Former First Lady of Ukraine Marina Poroshenko distributes sandwiches to territorial defense fighters in Kyiv
His efforts and those of the Ukrainian military are significantly slowing down the Russian advance, with one senior defense official quoted by CNN saying Russian troops are facing “more resistance” than they expected.
“I cannot give you the exact geographic location where they are, but they are not moving around Kiev as fast as expected.
‘[They are] meeting more resistance than they expected,” they added.
On the streets of Kyiv, former leader Petro Poroshenko was among many civilians forming territorial defense units, ready to take on Putin’s people when they show up.
In an emotional interview with CNN, Poroshenko held up a Kalashnikov and vowed to never give in to either the Russian leader or his army.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday evening uploaded a video showing him still in Kyiv, in government offices.
“We are all here. Our soldiers are here. The citizens are here and we are here. We are defending our independence. Here is how it will go.
“Glory to our defenders, both men and women, glory to Ukraine!” he said.
Now night has fallen in Ukraine, and those on the ground say it’s eerily quiet, except for the distant, muffled roar of explosions and shelling.