From the small business owner to the tough. Anton, Ukrainian Blacksmith Helps Delay Russian Tanks – News

The owner of a small but successful business selling metal furniture to wealthy European clients began producing security barriers at the start of the Russian invasion and provided them free of charge to the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Unit.

Zaika began buying and converting old and damaged cars into upgraded armored vehicles to obtain raw materials during the war. “At the beginning of the invasion, there were no police in the city, or even many soldiers,” the 32-year-old businessman told AFP from his workshop in Sumy, 25 kilometers from the Russian border.

“So we mainly had territorial defense. It was our citizens who took up arms and prevented the enemy from entering the city. I was not well armed, so I did what I knew to help them,” says the father of one. A six-year-old boy and a four-month-old girl.

Founded by Cossacks in the mid-17th century, Sumy has had to fight for its survival since the start of Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine in February. The city, nearly captured by the Russians, quickly responded, engaging in six weeks of fierce street fighting.

Surrounded by artillery and bombarded daily, trains and buses outside the city were halted, roads and bridges were pulverized, people were trapped, while water sources were suppressed and food became scarce. Airstrikes continued throughout the summer, and Russian ground forces repeatedly attempted to capture the city.

Anton Zyka, who learned the trade from his father, ran the company for seven years and hoped to open a new workshop before the war. For this, 25,000 Euros worth of goods have been purchased. All these stocks were exhausted in the first month of the invasion, when they started receiving requests for help from regional security forces.

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Since then, it has built more than 500 stoves for militants to make life more pleasant in bomb camps and nearby towns and villages where the blast cut off gas supplies.

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