'We're staying to fight': Chesterfield couple's nervous wait as sons take up arms in Ukraine

A couple from Chesterfield say they are nervously waiting for news after their sons joined the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian army.

Retired engineer Peter Whittington lives with his wife Elina – known as 'Ellie' – who is originally from Ukraine.

Before the conflict began their son Andrii, 32, was an airline pilot and his brother, Victor, 27, was a member of the Ukrainian army.

Since the war began they have both taken up weapons, including a hunting rifle and a machine gun, ready to fight the Russians.

Peter Whittington and his wife live in Chesterfield Credit: DerbyshireLive/BPM

Mr Whittington said: "Ellie rang them [on the night the bombing started] and said 'we've got a plan to get you out' but the boys said 'we're not leaving, we're staying to fight'.

"I never have the news off, that's on all the time in the house. Ellie doesn't like to listen to all that but all of the videos the lads have been sending of different things, she's putting them up on Facebook.

"Heads were down the first couple of days but I agree with Ellie that we have to face it and do whatever we can.

"If I'm honest, this week feels like ten years."

Mrs Whittington says feels a similar feeling of duty towards defending Ukraine as her sons.

She said: "Proud is an understatement. They had a chance to come back to the Uk when this all started and they just said no, they wanted to stay and fight.

"I feel the same - I am at war. I've got my own war with them. I'll do anything that I can to protect my country through fantastic people who are helping me to raise money to send everything they need - the painkillers, the torches, everything our army needs. And I will do until the end."

Andrii and Victor are staying in a city between the country's capital Kyiv and the southern city of Odessa on the banks of the Black Sea.

Andrii said: "When you see houses falling, when you see women and children are dying, it's scary. Very scary."

"We are trying not to speak a lot about war because we get used to it and the most important thing now is not to think about the war but to think about the victory."

Mr Whittington said his sons were in good spirits despite the odds stacked against them and the rest of the Ukranian population.

But he said they were worried that President Putin would unleash even more force on the country to try and win the war. He said: "He's just sending more and more in.

"All the morale in the world won't defeat these bombs, I can see Putin being that determined, he'll stop at nothing.

"He'll take Kyiv eventually, he'll have that many forces, but the Ukrainians will carry on fighting forever, they won't throw down their arms."