A week ago Andrii Bilous was living the quiet life of a professor.
What You Need To Know
Andrii Bilous was a professor in Ukraine before joining the army
Bilous is guarding an “important” building in Kyiv
Bilous’ family evacuated to Poland
Today, the father of two is a soldier fighting for his country.
“Sometimes it seems like hell for us, but we fight,” Andrii Bilous said.
Bilous grew up in Belarus and has lived in Kyiv 20 years.
He knows how to use a gun, but his full-time job is a professor of forestry.
Now, a member of the Ukrainian army, he’s at an undisclosed location in Kyiv, where he says he’s guarding an “important” building.
“Every night we hear bombing, and we hear the shooting around and in the center of Kyiv too," he said.
Ukraine’s capital city has felt the sting of Russian attacks, but so far Ukraine has held its ground.
Bilous admits up until the full invasion he didn’t think Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to go through with it.
Putin’s true colors, he said, are now on full display.
“It was a big mistake for me to believe Russia believes in peace,” Bilous said. “Russia wants war, and we must protect.”
Bilous said he and other soldiers have talked with family in Russia who said they don’t want war with Ukraine.
Either way he finds himself in the middle of it.
“We [are] preparing to meet with Russian soldiers, we keep calm, clean our guns, be ready for fight,” Bilous said. “I’m not scared.”
There’s an unrelenting determination in Bilous.
This isn’t just about losing his country, it’s about seeing his family. His wife and two children safely evacuated to Poland. He plans to see them again at home.
“After victory we can come back to our life,” Bilous said. “We will win.”
Bilous has no other option.
This is a fight for democracy, his country and his life.