"No one wins in war."
Trigger Warning: This story contains images of guns that may be disturbing to readers.
A photo of four 18-year-old Ukranian men wielding guns has gone viral on Twitter, as it shows the harsh reality of Russia's ongoing invasion.
The image, captured by the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, shows the teenage boys wearing several layers of clothes to keep themselves warm, with backpacks and kneepads along with sleeping bags, while standing in a suburban street, per HuffPost.
None of the boys are smiling in the photo and they look visibly scared, while carrying large firearms and sporting yellow bands on their forearms. Bowen’s caption reads: “18 year old Ukrainian volunteers off to war in Kyiv. Three days of training and they will be on the front line.”
Ex-military helicopter pilot and reporter for GE Healthcare, Mikey Kay, also commented on the picture. reflecting on how it portrayed the "brutal" nature of war.
18 year old Ukrainian volunteers off to war in Kyiv. Three days training and they will be on the front line. pic.twitter.com/xWudDwhpXS— Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) March 4, 2022
"War is brutal. It shows you sadness and despair that stays with you forever, no matter how good life might get in the future. If they are extremely lucky, they’ll walk away with their limbs in tact. But mentally, they are likely to be haunted,"he said.
While Kay said he 'admire[s]' the four 18-year-olds, he called their joining of the war 'an unnecessary fight for national survival'. 'The alternative isn’t any better – living under Putin. But the following days, weeks, and months will rely on a lot of luck and organic judgement. Three days training gives them next to nothing," he said.
He then shared how people in the neighboring countries are blisfully unaware of the true nature of war by sharing, "While just a few hours away from Kyiv, in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and other major European capitals, we in the West go about our days pretty much as normal, these young lads will be embarking on a journey with low odds of survival."
"When people talk of winning in this conflict. No one wins in war. The physical and mental aftermath of what a soldiers or fighter sees isn’t a win, it’s a resounding loss. Everyone loses. And the metrics that define the outcomes, IMHO, is who loses the least," he concluded.
These are children. This is so f*cking sad. But I salute their heroism.— P.D. White 🇺🇦🌻 (@whitepatrick) March 4, 2022
Would we do the same were it us?
According to the BBC, Ukranian men between the ages of 18 and 60 are banned from leaving the country and have been urged to fight.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has said the civilian death toll for Ukraine due to Russia's invasion has surpassed that of the 2014 war, which took place between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine, per Sky News.
Also, the two battling countries reached a "joint understanding" on March 4, 2022, to allow civilians safe passage through humanitarian corridors, not all civilians have fled.
Disclaimer: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Women Working is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Chris McGrath