Thousands of Ukrainians sign up to fight for their country as Russian invasion continues

In a photo posted on Twitter on February 25, 2022, dozens of people stand in line for military conscription in the city of Poltava.
In a photo posted on Twitter on February 25, 2022, dozens of people stand in line for military conscription in the city of Poltava. © Twitter / Christi24438485

Long lines of Ukrainians ready for battle, civilians donating blood to wounded soldiers … These are the images on social media as thousands of civilians in Ukraine mobilise to protect their country from the Russian invasion. Early on Friday morning, President Volodymyr Zelensky urged conscripts and reservists nationwide to fight for their country.


Thousands of Ukrainians have lined up to fight after Zelensky declared a general mobilisation and called on citizens to protect their country, after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by land, sea and air on February 24.

Videos shared online show the long lines of people signing up for the military. 

Volunteers signing up to enlist in the army in Kyiv, February 24, 2022.

Volunteers line up in front of Kyiv’s town hall to enlist in the army, February 24, 2022.

Volunteers line up in Rivne to enlist in the army, February 25, 2022.


Tweet with the caption: “An 80-year-old showed up to join the Ukrainian army, carrying with him a small case with 2 t-shirts, a pair of extra pants, a toothbrush and a few sandwiches for lunch. He said he was doing it for his grandkids.”


Volunteers line up in Lutsk to enlist in the army, February 25, 2022.


Ukrainian forces attempt to shore up military might

On February 24, Zelensky urged all Ukrainians who can carry arms to fight, while the country’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, called on anyone with a Ukrainian passport to enlist in the army.

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” Zelensky said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's armed forces said in a tweet: "All those who are ready to take up arms, join the ranks of the area defence forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We simplified procedures. Only your ID is needed. We give weapons to all patriots!"

Volunteers line up in Poltava to enlist in the army, February 25, 2022.

Volunteers line up in Kyiv to enlist in the Territorial Defense Forces, February 24, 2022.

Many regular Ukrainian citizens have been training for this moment since 2014, when Russia captured the Crimea peninsula without a fight. Civilians have been gathering on the outskirts of Kyiv and other cities to practice combat, undeterred by Russia's military might. They received training from former and current military members.

“For the last eight years, our military has been fighting for the future of all the Ukrainian people. Today is the moment when every Ukrainian who can protect his home must take up arms. Not just to help our soldiers, but to cleanse Ukraine of the enemy once and for all,” said the Ukrainian interior ministry on February 25.

Meanwhile, all Ukrainian men aged between 18 to 60 have been banned from leaving the country. Ukraine’s state border guard service (DPSA) says this measure is aimed at “guaranteeing Ukraine's defence and the organisation of timely mobilisation”. The temporary ban will remain in place for the duration of martial law, which was imposed by Zelensky on Thursday morning after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Zelensky has called on Europeans with “combat experience” to enlist and help Ukraine defend itself against invading Russian forces, adding the West has been too slow to help his country. 

“If you have combat experience in Europe and do not want to look at the indecision of politicians, you can come to our country and join us in defending Europe, where it is very necessary now,” Zelensky said in a video, as Russian troops approached the Ukrainian capital.

Hundreds of Ukrainians line up to donate blood

Zelensky has also urged Ukrainian citizens to donate blood as the number of wounded soldiers increases in the wake of Russia's attacks.

>> Read more on The Observers: Images show Russian army 27 km from centre of Kyiv

Footage of hundreds of Ukrainians queuing up to donate their blood across the country have been spreading on social media.

People lining up to donate blood in the eastern city of Kharkiv, February 24, 2022.

People lining up to donate blood in the Western city of Lviv, February 25, 2022.

On the first day of the invasion, 137 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians were killed and 316 wounded, according to Zelensky.


CORRECTION: The original version of this article contained a video purportedly showing a Ukrainian man saying goodbye to his daughter before leaving to fight. The video in fact shows a man in the pro-Russian separatist region of Donetsk saying goodbye to his daughter who was being evacuated along with the rest of his family.