Meet a Ukrainian coffee shop owner ready to answer the call if Russia invades
KYIV -- Ukraine and Russia are on the brink of war, but you wouldn't know it by observing the streets of Ukraine's capital city.
Shops are open. Restaurants are open. People are out and about. And there is no overwhelming sense of anxiety - even as Russian troops edge closer to the border while insisting they're not plotting an invasion.
Tucked away on Nyzhnil Val Street is Roman Nabozhnyak's coffee shop, Veterano Brownie, named after the fact that the 31-year-old himself is a veteran who fought for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He is currently a reservist, prepared to fight on the frontlines if he gets the call.
I ask him if he's ready for a possible Russian invasion.
"They have already invaded Ukraine in 2014," referring to the annexation of Crimea.
"For me personally, and for all my peers who are war veterans, it's not something new."
- Watch: Omar Sachedina speaks with Roman Nabozhniak, who served with the Ukrainian military and is a current reservist
- Read more: A timeline of major events leading up to the current Russia-Ukraine crisis
He started his coffee shop in 2019 - before the pandemic. Although it's open, the soldier - who was part of a very different battle as a contestant on Ukraine's version of "The Voice" - has shifted attention to online deliveries to stay afloat.
And getting ready to fight.
"If I'm called, I will go to my military base," he says, adding that the staff have already been trained to carry on without him. "So business can operate without me being here."
It's a constant state of readiness Ihor Romanenko knows all too well. Ukraine's former deputy defence minister, and a former member of Ukraine's top military brass, he retired in 2010, but spent 40 years in the military, roughly half that time under the Soviets before Ukraine gained independence.
Now, he teaches military strategy.
Ask him how likely it is Vladimir Putin will invade, and he shows me a map of Ukraine, with markers showing the position of Russian troops.
"Very high," he says, "We're almost completely encircled - except for the west."
"In 2014, many, including, unforunately, some Ukrainians though that Putin will not invade, but he did. He annexed Crimea."
At the same time, Romanenko says Ukraine's allies are speaking out more loudly this time, and its own military is more muscled and better equipped and more passionate.
"It is more ready to resist to the last drop of blood."