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"It’s loud here. The cannonades are taking place all the time".
One of Ukraine's popular bands, Antytila, still plan to play music despite serving on the frontline in Kyiv.
The band - headed by frontman Taras Topolia, keyboardist Serhii Vusyk, guitarist Dmytro Zholud, drummer Dymtro Vodovozov and bass guitarist Michael Chyrko - recently made headlines after appealing to be part of Ed Sheeran's benefit concert for Ukraine, which takes place in Birmingham, UK, on 29 March.
They have been told by the organisers of the concert that they could not be part of the gig, however, as it has a 'purely humanitarian purpose' and the band 'are wearing helmets and holding arms'.
But the five-piece - who used to sell out stadiums and were TV show regulars before Ukraine was plunged into conflict, remained undeterred - and are planning to play on in Kyiv.
The group is currently serving in a medical unit in the Ukrainian capital, which has suffered some of the most brutal bombardments of the war so far.
LADBible spoke to Antytila about their experiences on the front line and the 'incredible power' music has to 'motivate' people in difficult times.
Speaking of their current service at a medical unit, they said: "Our task is to reach the battlefield fast, provide first aid to the injured and evacuate them to the nearest hospital.
"Simply put, we have to save lives and at the same time, be ready to join battle if needed".
Hi!@edsheeran got back to us, he said that he’ll be happy to check out our music. So we want to thank him for supporting Ukraine.— Antytila (@antytila_offic) March 25, 2022
we also heard back from the organisers of the benefit concert and were told NO.
Full video: https://t.co/rCGpzWeqzz pic.twitter.com/3xzis41V2N
The band are among many Ukrainians who have decided to leave their old jobs behind and volunteer to defend their country amid the ongoing war.
In a report from the UN, updated yesterday (27 March), it is said that 3.8 million refugees have fled the country since since February 24.
At least 1,500 civilian apartment buildings, structures and vehicles have been damaged or destroyed in recent weeks, with a significant number of those in the capital, including apartments, shopping malls and schools.
The band first noted the noise that relentlessly rings through Kyiv during their service. However, this noise has changed in recent weeks.
While the first two weeks of invasion were marred by Russians, the balance has tipped: "It was artillery shells and ballistic missiles, but for the last two weeks, it’s the opposite.
"Now it is the Ukrainian artillery working loudly from Kyiv toward the north-west, at the points where Russian troops have entrenched themselves".
"There isn’t any person here having doubts we’re going to win," they said, before noting that 'despite the losses', Ukraine's defence is not to be underestimated.
It is a determination the world has become familiar with from Ukrainians in recent weeks, from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's leadership to footage of a woman confronting a heavily armed soldier.
The band then pointed out that military experts abroad too often focus on the 'power' of the Russian military, rather than the resolve of Ukrainian forces that have reached a 'different level since 2014'; a reference to the invasion and annexation of Crimea eight years ago.
"We have good coordination between the units, brave soldiers, mobility, bayractars, stingers, and javelins," they explained, "as well as total support of Ukrainian people."
However, they were also quick to note another 'tool' they have in their arsenal: music and the 'incredible power' it has to 'motivate people' in hard times.
`The band has also harnessed the power of TikTok to get the attention of Ed Sheeran and the watching world.
"Addressing Ed Sheeran and suggesting organising a TV link-up between Kyiv and Birmingham, we had a real motivation to show that the capital hasn’t resigned to invaders," they said.
"That we have no fear. That people in Ukraine are brave. That Kyiv fights, and is definitely going to prevail."
While Antytila may not be playing the benefit concert, they will keep using the 'incredible tool' they have at their disposal and will keep serving their country.
"There’s one more important thing I want to say," they told LADbible from their Kyiv base, "I want to thank all people in Great Britain for great support. We not only see it but also feel it for sure."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
You can check out Antytila on Spotify, or other available streaming services.
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