your town - your call
Your town isn't a small town at a bit over 34,000, but everyone knows each other more or less. It isn't so big that you are disconnected from your neighbors. You are always one degree away from having a connection to anyone. Maybe 2.
Any American from New England would feel comfortable here. The weather is not that different, really - perhaps even a few degrees warmer.
Trip Advisor does not give your off the beaten path home (even though you are a stop on the railroad line to Odessa) a big write up, but you have nice restaurants and pubs. You have shockingly beautiful parks. Again, you are poor, but you were, at least before the Russian Army came, a tidy and proud town in a post-Soviet way.
Not so tidy now, especially near the bridge where you used to swim as you can see on the googlestreetview, but still proud.
Do you think your town is worth fighting for?
Do your neighbors? Do you run, or do you stay?
The people of Voznesensk seemed to have answered that question, at least for them.
At first, I thought this story about the Ukrainian stand at Voznesensk was too rah-rah to be true, but when WSJ picked it up I figured, "Must be ligit."
From most reports I've seen, Voznesensk is a Russian speaking town...but as true as that may be, they were Ukrainians to the core.
As the CBS report isn't behind a paywall, let's pick up the story;
Ukrainian troops in Voznesensk came up against a Russian invasion force that was armed to the teeth. They had heavy artillery and helicopters. In a heroic act of self-sacrifice, they blew up the main bridge into the town to keep Russian tanks from crossing.
The mayor guided CBS News through the rubble and around the anti-tank mines still littering his town.
"This is where we stopped them," said Velichko.
His sleepy country town, without heavy weapons of its own, routed a Russian battalion.
Even locals like 66-year-old Sushenko Nikolay Semenovich, a retired minesweeper in the Soviet army, pitched in to repel the Russian force.
"I jumped out and shot with my own rifle," he told CBS News. "Our commander told me, 'get back in the basement, grandpa!' But my heart simply couldn't handle just sitting in the basement. These Russians don't give up. We will kill them all."
On 2 March 2022, elements of the Russian 126th Naval Brigade advanced northwest towards the city of Voznesensk from Mykolaiv, attempting to find a crossing over the Southern Bug river. The Russian column was alleged to have consisted of 400 men and 43 vehicles.
In preparation, Yevgeniy Velichko, the mayor of the city and one of the Ukrainian commanders, stated that local businessmen helped Ukrainian forces create numerous roadblocks and destroyed a bridge over the Mertvovod River [uk] in Voznesensk, as well as digging out the shoreline of the river so that Russian vehicles couldn't ford it.
Russian forces initiated the battle by shelling the city, damaging several buildings. Russian paratroopers were dropped to the southwest of the city, while an armored column advanced from the southeast, staging in the neighboring village of Rakove [uk]. Russian snipers created nests in several houses in the village, and Russian forces set up a base at a local gas station. A Russian APC fired at the local Territorial Defense Forces base, killing several Ukrainian soldiers. However, Russian forces were unable to push into Voznesensk, and Ukrainian artillery began shelling Russian positions, preventing Russian artillery from setting up their mortars.
By nightfall, Russian tanks began firing into Voznesensk, but retreated after being met with counterfire. Concurrently, Ukrainian forces continued to shell Russian positions, destroying some Russian vehicles. Ukrainian soldiers advanced on foot, attacking Russian vehicles with American-supplied FGM-148 Javelin missiles, destroying at least 3 tanks. Ukrainian forces were also able to down a Russian Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter. Russian forces fully retreated on 3 March, abandoning equipment and vehicles. During their retreat, Russian artillery shelled Rokove, hitting a clinic. Russian forces also looted the village. The Russian column retreated 40 miles (64 km) to the southeast.
In total, 30 Russian vehicles, including some tanks, were abandoned. Among them, Ukrainian forces were able to salvage 15 tanks. Local officials stated that around 100 Russian soldiers were killed and 10 were captured, while Ukrainian forces suffered some causalities, mainly among the Territorial Defense Forces. 12 civilians were killed during the battle.
On 9 March, Russian forces conducted another attack on Voznesensk. Ukrainian forces positioned a defense near the destroyed bridge. The following day, Russian forces captured the city. However, Ukrainian forces recaptured Voznesensk three days later on 13 March. By 18 March, Ukrainian counter attacks around the area , had pushed the Russians 120 kilometres back from the city.
The local Ukrainian forces continued to fortify the city after the second assault, believing that Russian forces would continue their attacks.
This would make a great movie.
Who will pay grandpa?
I would like to offer that the couple at the beginning of this video (after the rail car full of dead Russian soldiers) would be happily played by CDR and Mrs. Salamander. We'd do it gratis.
Mrs. Salamander would simply play herself, because that is pretty much what she might have done...after telling me to get off the ground....