The recruits were like any bunch of young lads who had decided they were no longer boys.
Most of them were in their late teens, not long out of school. After three days’ basic training, they would head for the front line – or very close to it.
Some were wearing knee pads that looked too small, as if they had come with skateboards on their 12th birthdays. A few had sleeping bags. One had a yoga mat.
One week later, they were in uniforms, body armour, proper infantry kneepads and helmets.
“We just have to stop them here, because if they get to Kyiv this war might be over,” said economics student Dmytro Kisilenko, 18.
He was “not much” scared, he said. “But it is human nature to feel scared, and of course deeply in my soul I feel a bit scared, as no one wants to die, even if it’s for your country”.
“So, death is not an option for us”.