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Ukraine fights back: Air defenses reportedly 'wreaking havoc' on Russian aircraft; civilians take up arms; former president stands ready to fight, vows country will hold off Russian troops 'forever'

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DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

Despite being outmatched in nearly every facet of warfare, the Ukrainian people are reportedly standing strong in defense of their country, seeking to hold off Russian troops who initiated an unprovoked invasion on Thursday.

What are the details?

Though it is difficult to get an accurate picture of how exactly the fight is going in Ukraine, images and videos shared on social media over the last several hours offered signs of Ukranian determination to defend their homeland.

Forbes reporter David Axe tweeted that Ukrainian air defenses and fighters were "wreaking havoc" on Thursday, downing Russian planes and helicopters conducting aerial assaults on Ukraine's military installations and population centers.

One Ukrainian fighter pilot dubbed the "Ghost of Kyiv" has emerged as an unconfirmed hero after having allegedly single-handedly downed six Russian fighter jets.

TheBlaze previously reported that Ukraine claimed to have inflicted significant losses on the Russian military on the first day of fighting — including up to 80 tanks, as many as 516 armored combat vehicles, 10 aircraft, 7 helicopters, and 2,800 special staff.

Reportedly hell-bent on attacking Kyiv and overthrowing the Ukrainian government, Russian forces persisted through whatever resistance was offered. On Friday, they advanced into a northern district of the capital city, where residents were under direction to "prepare Molotov cocktails" to defend the city.

Within Ukrainian cities, residents have vowed to take up arms against the encroaching enemy. Video posted to Twitter by security analyst Michael A. Horowitz Friday allegedly showed weapons being distributed en masse to Ukrainian civilians who had volunteered to fight.

Among the brave residents standing in the streets prepared to fight was former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The former leader reportedly took up a Kalashnikov rifle alongside civilian defense forces on Friday.

When asked by CNN's John Berman, "How long do you think you can hold out?” Poroshenko defiantly answered, "Forever."

"Putin will never [overtake] Ukraine no matter how many soldiers he has, how many missiles he has, how many nuclear weapons he has — we, Ukrainians, are free people," he added.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother are also determined to defend their city and nation.

"It’s already a bloody war," Klitschko told ITV Thursday, according to the New York Post. "I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I would fight."

What else?

Current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also remained in the capital despite facing serious danger. The leader reportedly claimed that he and his family are top targets in the offensive and that Russian kill squads are actively seeking to assassinate him.

"I'm staying with my people," he proclaimed.

A senior U.S. defense official told reporters Thursday that Russia has "every intention of basically decapitating the government and installing their own method of governance" in Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin's designs for the European continent won't stop there.

Zelenskyy declared martial law in Ukraine earlier this week after Putin first announced the launch of a "special military operation" in his country.

Under that declaration, Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 are prohibited from leaving the country. Rather, they are being encouraged to join the fight. Amazingly, those older than 60 are also reportedly getting in on the action.

Anything else?

A commander in Kyiv told CBS News that thousands of people had arrived to fight, many whom have little or no military experience. According to him, the greatest challenge has been finding guns for all the volunteers.

"This is my country. I have my family here, and I have a duty to protect my family and to protect my country. And this is the duty of each and every Ukrainian," one resident, a mapmaker by trade who had arrived in Kyiv to help defend it, said.

He added, "We will fight as much as we can. We will fight because we have our families ... our country and our lifestyle that we are not ready to give up."

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