Overstretched Russian forces could struggle to keep Ukraine at current levels, expert predicts

Newlyweds Yaryna Arieva (right) and Sviatoslav Fursin took up arms to defend Ukraine. (CNN)

Just hours after getting married on the first day of the Russian invasion, Yaryna Arieva and Sviatoslav Fursin joined the fight to protect their country.

The couple were due to wed in May but were rushed to marry in Kiev last week during the Russian invasion, before joining the Ukrainian resistance.

Dressed in camouflage jackets and holding a rifle, the couple told CNN’s Don Lemon that they spent their honeymoon in a besieged city and took up arms to fight against Russian troops invading their homeland.

“It’s hard to understand, this new reality that we have,” said Arieva, who is from Kyiv.

She said it was the first day of spring and people usually sow sunflowers – Ukraine’s national flower – instead they would resist Russia’s attack.

“No one here is saying we’re going to lose, or crying. Everyone here believes we’re going to win. It’s all just a matter of time. So, I’m very happy to see this large number of people, really ready to fight. Being ready to kill for their land. Having no doubt about our victory in this war,” she said.

Her husband, Fursin, was born in the western city of Lviv and said that “its people always want to be free. These people are ready to fight for their freedom”.

Going on a combat mission, he is worried about the safety of his family – his wife, parents and sister – but said he “will do everything to protect them”.

Arieva said she works every day and although it’s “hard to wait for my husband to come back from combat missions”, everyone helps each other.

“Life here is different, but that’s life. People are joking and laughing. It’s very interesting to see. It’s a different kind of life that changed with the start of the war, but it’s life,” she said.

The couple called on the international community to help Ukraine with money, food, weapons and medical assistance and to impose more sanctions on Russia.

Fursin said he hopes the time will come soon when he can gather his family and friends “all in one place and have a good glass of wine. And say to everyone, ‘Hooray, the war is over, we won.'”

Before that, however, he said he wanted “everyone in this world, including Russia and the Russian people, to remember ‘that they are fighting’ for the freedom of the world.”


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