In the first 36 hours after Russia launched its brutal invasion and assault on Ukraine, Ukraine claims to have killed 2,800 Russian troops and destroyed hundreds of Russian military vehicles.
In a tweet Friday morning, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said as of 3 p.m. local time, Ukraine had killed 2,800 Russian troops, destroyed 80 tanks, 10 aircraft, 7 helicopters, and 516 armored combat vehicles.
“We are strong! Victory for us!” the post said.
Ukraine has said 137 of its citizens have been killed so far. Russia has not yet mentioned its death tolls, but has claimed it has captured 160 Ukrainian soldiers, destroyed 18 tanks, five fighter jets, one helicopter, and 74 military facilities.
Numbers claims by either side could not be verified, however.
In addition to Ukraine’s military, which had received training and support from the U.S. military before the invasion, Ukrainian civilians are taking up arms to join the fight against Russia.
Shortly after Russia declared war on Ukraine, Ukraine President Volodimir Zelenskyy announced that he would arm “anyone who wants to defend the country.”
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”
According to The Kyiv Independent reporter Illia Ponomarenko, as many as 18,000 rifles have been handed out to civilian forces as of Friday afternoon.
“18,000 rifles delivered to volunteering street fighters in Kyiv now #BattleofKyiv,” Ponomarenko tweeted.
Video shared by journalist Thomas van Linge shows a Ukrainian handing out arms and other equipment to civilians and troops alike.
On Thursday, Zelenskyy went a step further and banned all males aged 18-60 from leaving the country.
“In particular, it is forbidden for men aged 18-60, Ukraine citizens, to leave the borders of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in a statement, as reported by CNN. “This regulation will remain in effect for the period of the legal regime of martial law. We ask the citizens to take this information into consideration.”
“All Ukrainians are defending the country at the moment,” Ambassador of Ukraine to the US Oksana Markarova said on Friday. “We are ready for peace talks but we are not ready to capitulate or surrender.”