Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have been targeted by Western allies who have vowed to ratchet up sanctions on the Russian president and his regime.

It’s becoming more common for civilians to create militias, and the government is handing them automatic weapons.

There were reports early Saturday of thousands of Ukrainian residents escaping on crowded trains or highly busy highways, as Russian soldiers battled their way into the capital of Kyiv.

Irishman Kevin Flanagan, who has lived in Kyiv for the last 5 years, shared to Fox News Digital that the situation in Ukraine affects the whole globe “because this is truly a moment of ordinary people who are standing up for the values that we claim to hold here in the West.”

By attacking Ukraine, Vladimir Putin demonstrated the might of Ukraine’s military and civilian population.

The Ukrainian President is a visible symbol of resistance as Russian soldiers advance on Kyiv and a possible source of encouragement for the country’s beleaguered citizens. He has opted to stay in Kyiv to this day despite the U.S offer to evacuate him.

On Thursday, a Russian naval cruiser can be seen ordering a squad of 13 Ukrainian troops to surrender. “Russian warship,” they replied, “go f— yourself.”  Zelenskyy stated they will be honored as national heroes for their deaths during the subsequent onslaught.

‘This is Ukraine’s French Revolution’

According to Flanagan, “This is Ukraine’s War of Independence; this is Ukraine’s French Revolution; this is Ukraine’s Tiananmen Square, and everybody should be paying attention to what’s happening in Ukraine right now because this is beyond politics. This is about an idea the small nations have the right to be free too.”

At least in the early phases of the invasion, according to US and UK intelligence assessments, Ukraine’s defenders are putting up a stronger struggle than Russia had anticipated. There seems to be a willingness on the part of Ukrainian defense personnel to poke the bear — tweeting photographs of arrested Russian troops along with phrases such as “Welcome to hell” and “Death to enemies!”

Russian president vladimir putin
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Flanagan said he believes Ukrainian citizens to be “an extremely resilient people.”

“Let’s just call a spade a spade here,” he said. “One side are fighting for their homes, their family, their identity, their land, their history, their ethnicity, their right to recognition at the table of nations. The other side are paid soldiers.”

It was said that these Russian troops were dispatched to take over a nation where they may have relations. A similar history, common languages, and more connect the two countries.

National identity on the line

“The ordinary people who fight these wars tend to have a lot more in common than the men and the oligarchs and the tyrants who give the orders,” he said.

In this case, just one side is fighting for their complete national identity.

“What Putin is doing goes against every value that Students For Liberty holds dear, and these are the same values that America was founded upon: the principles of liberty and nonintervention of peace through strength,” Flanagan said. “We are seeing on the ground here ordinary people, and I mean ordinary people, who are mobilizing, self-organizing. There were a couple of militias happening in different neighborhoods as guns became available — men formed into groups and they started to patrol their neighborhoods.”

If he hadn’t been receiving medical treatment, Flanagan claimed he would have fled the city with his Ukrainian wife sooner.

He reported seeing at least two military planes, a slew of tanks, troops in trenches, and abandoned bivouacs, just to name a few sights they saw. The bus shook as it rumbled near the border due to the sound of distant gunfire and explosions.

‘Absolutely surreal’

“It’s absolutely surreal,” he said Friday morning. “These are all images that I associated with Second World War movies – never expected that this is something I would see in my own lifetime, with my own eyes.”

For hours, he was still at the border crossing waiting for his turn to cross. He said that border guards were denying entry to males between the ages of 18 and 60. When his father was recruited, he observed a 15-year-old boy sobbing on a tree stump. Family members traveling with pets were not permitted to cross.

“My mother- and father-in-law were being optimistic that we will see them again,” he said. “But I’m not really sure if we will or not.” Flanagan serves as Europe director for Students for Liberty, an international libertarian NGO. The motto of the organization is  “Peace, Love and Liberty.”