Billboards in Ukraine Urge Volunteers to Join Military in Case Russia Invades

Billboards in Ukraine are urging civilians to volunteer with the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) and receive military training as Russia continues to build up its forces along the Ukrainian border.

According to Yahoo News, the billboards have been largely successful at recruiting civilians to defend their hometowns, as thousands of men and women have reportedly volunteered.

The TDF commander, Brigadier General Yuriy Halushkin, spoke to Ukraine's national news agency, Ukrinform, and discussed formation of the TDF, which is still a work in progress.

Halushkin also discussed the process of volunteering for civilians.

"If they wish to serve as part of a battalion or brigade, they come to the commander for an interview before reporting to the recruitment center. Next, they have to pass a physical, their papers get done and then they put on their uniform and serve their country," he said.

He added that the most pressing issue at the moment is ensuring there are enough arms and ammunition, and that all members of the TDF are trained properly to operate the weapons.

"I wouldn't want anyone to operate these concepts unprofessionally," the commander said.

Data from a poll published on Tuesday conducted by the Ukraine Future Institute think tank showed that 56 percent of Ukrainians are currently willing and ready to join the Territorial Defense Forces and defend their country. Nineteen percent said they would "definitely" enlist should Russia invade, and 37 percent said they were "likely" to enlist.

Marta Yuzkiv, a clinical researcher and mother of three, is one of the recruits serving in a unit in Kyiv.

She told Yahoo News that she would prefer to spend her weekends doing something other than military training, "but we do not have any other choice than to be prepared. I do not want my family to live under [Russian] occupation, and I do not want to move from Ukraine. I want to protect my life, home, country. I also want my kids to be free for their future."

The tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to rise as President Vladimir Putin has placed more than 100,000 troops along the border, but telltale signs of invasion preparation have not yet been seen from the Russian armed forces.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on Wednesday that despite Russia's large numbers amassed at the border, "this number is insufficient for a full-scale offensive along the entire Ukrainian border. They also lack some important military indicators and systems to conduct such a large full-scale offensive."

Still, Ukraine is prepared for a possible invasion, and Kuleba told Russia resolutely, "We do not [welcome] your soldiers here on our land, and we will be ready to protect our families and our land, and our right to build a democratic country — not a police state, like Russia."

Newsweek reached out to the United Nations for additional comment.

Talks To Defuse Russia-Ukraine Tensions Resolve Little
Billboards along Ukrainian highways are urging civilians to volunteer for military training and to join the Territorial Defense Forces as Russia continues to send troops to the border. Above, Ukrainian soldiers with the 56th Brigade are at ease in a bunker on the frontline on January 18, 2022, in Pisky, Ukraine. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images