Volunteers have begun training to join Ukraine’s newly formed National guard.
Hundreds have signed up to counter what Kyiv calls “blatant Russian agression in Crimea” and to guard against possible further incursions into the south and east.
Ukraine’s government has revealed the country has only 6,000 combat ready infantry – it has now endorsed a plan to mobilise 40,000 reservists.
A bullish Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister, explained what could be expected of the new troops:
“In the next few days Ukraine will have a combat read unit which doesn’t want to fight but will have a firm intention to protecting the borders of Ukraine,” said Avakov.
Among the trainees are volunteers who manned the barricades in Kyiv during the protests which ousted President Yanukovych.
Former bodyguard and Kyiv resident Yan said he was prepared to do his duty:
“Nobody except us, the citizens of Ukraine, will protect this country and we will do our best.”
Ukraine’s new defense chiefs admit their regular army is in poor shape, outgunned and outnumbered by Russian forces, the hope is diplomacy will be the weapon of choice in this crisis.