The Ukrainian fight against Russia’s invasion of their country is truly a national effort, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.
The free world has been amazed at Ukrainian resistance to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war of choice.” Ukrainian armed forces have demonstrated great tactical proficiency in confronting the much larger foe.
“They’re fighting skillfully, bravely, quite creatively,” Kirby said. “And the fighting isn’t just by the armed forces.”
He said that average citizens — outraged by the Russian attack — received weapons from the government and learned to use them.
It’s unclear if areas of Ukraine now occupied by the Russian military are seeing some guerilla warfare emerge, but there are videos of Ukrainians confronting Russian tanks.
“Some of the resistance has been non-violent — with crowds of Ukrainians blocking city streets and actually stopping in their tracks some Russian units,” Kirby said. “So, the resistance resides on many levels, and it’s quite inspiring. … They are resisting; they are defending, and we are going to continue to look for ways to help them do that better going forward.”
Responding to a question about whether the Russians are treating captured Ukrainian service members as prisoners of war, Kirby said he didn’t have information on how captured Ukrainians or captured Russians are being treated. “But our expectation would be that that both parties would abide by Geneva Convention requirements and treat any soldiers that are captured humanely and in accordance with the rule of [war],” he said. “That would be, that would be the United States’ expectation, as well as [that of] so many other nations.”