Kherson was one of the first cities to fall under Russian control since the invasion in February, but that’s not to say Ukrainian residents weren’t resisting. CNN spoke to young people who led the Ukrainian resistance and independently killed Russian soldiers and officials. “I felt guilty at first, but then I realized they stole my home.”


    24 Nov. 2022

    Latest update:
    24-11-22, 21:45


    Archie, whose real name is not shared, is a young man from Cherson who has never resigned himself to the Russian takeover of his city. He describes to CNN how he killed two Russian soldiers while walking with a knife. “The first I killed without thinking and the second ran away but I was able to catch up.” He says that his action was based purely on his instinct. “I saw the monsters in their uniforms and thought why not?” Archie told CNN. Archie is only 20 years old and is a trained fighter, but never killed anyone before the invasion. “I felt bad for the first few days, but then I realized they were the enemy. They stole my home.”

    Resistance fighter Archie tells how he killed two Russian soldiers in Kherson. © CNN

    There was a lot of protest from the start of the invasion and several inhabitants gathered every day in squares with blue and yellow flags. After a while, any form of protest became impossible as Russian soldiers sprayed tear gas or even shot demonstrators. When peaceful protests failed, people like Archie decided to take matters into their own hands.

    It started with solo operations, but soon groups of like-minded pro-Ukrainian citizens started to emerge. “I had a friend with whom I drove through the city together. We searched for groups of Russian soldiers and then relayed all the information to the Ukrainian front. They then knew what to do,” says Archie.

    Electrocution and waterboarding

    Archie was captured by Russian soldiers on May 9 when he was wearing a T-shirt with a blue and yellow stripe. He was then taken to a Russian camp used to torture Ukrainian soldiers. “They kicked me, electrocuted me and beat me with sticks,” says Archie. After nine days, Archie was released, but many others were not allowed that right, he tells CNN.

    Ukrainian resistance fighter Ihor from Kherson.

    Ukrainian resistance fighter Ihor from Kherson. © CNN

    Ihor, another resistance fighter, corroborates Archie’s story. He was also arrested and beaten up. He says others were even clubbed and waterboarded. Both Archie and Ihor regularly provided the Ukrainian army with information by taking photos and videos. But during their detention, they were both able to hide that they were members of the Kherson resistance.

    Eight months after Russia took over the city, they were liberated by the Ukrainian army. The Russian army was driven out of the city and retreated behind the Dnieper River. Despite the gains in Kherson, many other cities remain under Moscow’s rule. In addition, many Ukrainians are currently without water or electricity due to Russian attacks on infrastructure.

    Kherson, Ukraine.

    Kherson, Ukraine. © AP