Kyiv residents were told to prepare Molotov cocktails on Friday as they awaited Russian invasion. Many families hid in bomb shelters and basements. According to Reuters, Russia launched missiles and air raid sirens wailed all night as Russian President Vladimir Putin began his assault on the neighboring country.

“Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry stated, urging Kyiv residents to stay off the streets because “active hostiles” from Russia were approaching in the northwest area of the city.

The call for Molotov cocktail petrol bombs, referred to as a “poor man’s grenade” since they are so easily created with just a bottle and a flammable substance, came a day after Russia began its invasion just before dawn on Thursday morning.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told his citizens after news broke of the Russian attack that every able-bodied person should help take up arms to defend their country.

“We are defending our country, we fight for our country and we protect our country” Zelenskyy stated on the social media platform Telegram in both Ukrainian and Russian. “We are strong, we are ready for everything.”

“We will defend ourselves,” he continued. “Not attack, but defend ourselves. And when you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs, but our faces.”

Zelenskyy declared martial law throughout the country, and many Kyiv residents took refuge in subway stations used as momentary air-raid shelters.

“The kids were scared,” one woman named Alla told Reuters reporters. “They cry and ask ‘Mom, will we all die?'”

Many Kyiv citizens said that the assault on their city was reminiscent of the Nazi Germany attacks during WWII back in 1941, especially as heavy fighting erupted within the city of 3 million people. Last night, a Russian aircraft was shot down, injuring eight people as it crashed into a Ukrainian building.

“They’re killing people and turning peaceful cities into military targets. It’s foul and will never be forgiven,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine also called for protests in Russia from those who oppose the war, which Russia quickly sent police out to neutralize in Moscow. U.S. President Joe Biden and the European Union also imposed heavy sanctions against Russia, which have yet to halt Putin’s invasion.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that no talks will take place until Ukraine lays down their arms and surrenders.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitchko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion
Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitchko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

It’s impossible to know a complete death toll at this time while fighting continues, but Zelenskyy revealed that 137 civilians and military personnel were killed in the country on just the first day of the Russian invasion, with another 316 wounded. The numbers, which will continue to rise, are expected to be much larger when a proper count is conducted.

“The city has gone into a defensive phase,” said Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitchko. “Shots and explosions are ringing out in some neighborhoods. Saboteurs have already entered Kyiv.”

Klitchko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion, echoed the calls to fight to save their country, citing that “The enemy wants to put the capital on its knees and destroy us.”

Speaking with those who have taken up arms against the Russian invaders, CBS News reported that people were pouring into a recruitment center Friday morning, inspired by the president’s speech offering arms to anyone willing to fight.

“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,” said Georgiy, 44, a Kyiv resident and a professional mapmaker. “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.”