Enlisting to defend Ukraine | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 18.03.2014
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Enlisting to defend Ukraine

As the crisis in Crimea continues, Ukrainian men and women are increasingly signing up for so-called volunteer defense forces. They want to back up their country's army should there indeed be war with Russia.

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Ukraine has been in the headlines since November when protests began against former president Victor Yanukovych, who later bowed to the pressure and fled to Russia. At his request, armed Russian troops descended on the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea to "protect the ethnic Russian community there," according to Moscow.

For Ukraine this show of force was a declaration of war, setting many Ukrainians on the defensive. As a result, young Ukrainians are flooding army recruitment centers. Hundreds of self-declared defense forces have sprung up around the country.

"The National Guards arrive when the army is not effective," Igor Didkovskiy, coordinator of The National Guards of Ukraine said. "We have 3,000 people now from all of Ukraine. We have total mobilization in recruiting centers."

Men and women alike are preparing for grave consequences. To learn more about these young Ukrainians' motives, Natalie Carney spoke with new recruits in Kyiv. Listen to her report above.

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