Ukrainian province chief promises 'new Stalingrad' for Russian attackers

Sleeping only three hours a night, Mikola Lukashuk says he has much to do as efforts swiftly changed towards war following last week’s invasion

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Mikola Lukashuk, province chief of Dnipropetrovsk region, has vowed to make the city of Dnipro a new ‘Stalingrad’ for Russian forces.

The 41-year-old regional boss has said he could place a million people under arms as Putin’s forces draw ever closer.

Sleeping only three hours a night, Lukashuk says he has much to do as efforts swiftly changed towards war following last week’s invasion.

Speaking to The Times, he said: “For two years I have done everything I can to make my oblast a place of prosperity and development.

"Now I’m going to make it a Stalingrad for the Russians.”

Logistical efficiency has seemingly been sorely lacking amongst encroaching Russian forces beset by difficulties and lengthy log jammed convoys, something not happening in Dnipro.

Teams run by Lukashuk are dealing with countless donations that have been coming from all over the world, to help purchase supplies including binoculars, night vision devices, sleeping bags and boots.

The region he runs encompasses the industrial heartland of Ukraine, over 50 towns and cities, raw material supplies and contributed over 10 percent of the nation’s GDP over the last year.

Residents in the Dnipropetrovsk region have seen billboards now display adverts reading “Russian Warship – F*** Yourself”. A reference to 13 border guards who were believed to have died after refusing to surrender to Russian forces, though now luckily believed to be alive.

Lukashuk added: “I didn’t want my oblast to be a place where everyone grabbed an assault rifle and pistol and Molotov, but we’ve had no choice."

The battle of Stalingrad in World War 2 was marked by brutal urban fighting as the Russian city (now named Volgograd) held out against German forces that had them under siege, marking a key point in the war.

The conflict marked one of the longest and bloodiest engagements in modern warfare.

Ukraine’s leader has denounced Russia’s escalation of attacks on crowded cities as a blatant terror campaign, while US president Joe Biden warned that if the Russian leader didn’t “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression would not stop with one country.