Yana "Yuri" Martinova Korelenko grew up on a collective farm in western Ukraine. Stranded in the ustable zone of the country,she was living in a shed in the woods and eating squirrels and tree bark and slowly starving to death, at least until she teamed up with/ was rescued by Iaroslav Romanovych Kossack. She took advantage of her bulky parka to avoid further complications in her life by passing for a guy, going by "Yuri," after the first person in space. When things get bad, she tends to be evasive and sneaky, although she doesn't get a kick out of being dishonest.She's good at rolling with the punches, tricking people, and surviving, and is slippery, flexible,and innovative. She has a loud and obnoxious conscience that can usually bully her into doing what it says.
Iaroslav Romanovych Kossack is an officer in the Ukrainian special forces from Kiyv. Before the breakup of the USSR, he was in the Soviet special forces, and fought in the Soviet-Afghan war, where he saw his entire unit killed except for a friend of his, Vladimir Andreivich Chekhov. Possibly as a result of that, he drinks too much, although it could just be because he likes to drink. Because of the instabilty of the area he's in, he can't get in touch with the Ukrainian military to report for duty. Brusque, curt, and abrasive to the point of rudeness, he still seems to be able to be polite enough (when he wants to be) to pick up girls.
He has his own idiosyncratic code of honor, that he'll stick to through anything. He may or may not be able to punch holes in concrete walls.
Bekir Cemilev is a seventeen-year-old Crimean Tatar from Uzbekistan, decended from Tatars exiled from the Crimea by Stalin. He and his brothers, Veli (a thoughtful, analytical bookworm, aged 18), Ismail (an engineering student, aged 21), Kayyum (a friendly, boisterous "tough guy" aged 19), and Inalcik (Ismail's twin, quiet and good at keeping his head), were part of the Tatars returning to their ancestral homeland in the Crimea, which made them a target of Bohdan's ultranationalist gang/army. Bekir's a cheerful person, for the most part, and tends to be silly. He and his brothers drink in moderation, although they're Muslim. (Not uncommon for Eastern European Muslims.)
John Silver is in a near-constant state of culture shock, since he's from Miami, USA. He was rescued from kidappers by Iaroslav, but they're still not sure what he was doing there in the first place, and can't really ask, thanks to language barriers. He likes warm weather and spicy food. (Poor guy.)
Bohdan is just his nom de guerre, after a Cossack leader. His real name is unkown. He is the commander of an army known as the Shashka. While not actually in "kill 'em all" territory, he has little respect for anyone who isn't ethnic Ukrainian and doesn't really want them living in the country. He is perfectly willing to resort to violence to, as he sees it, "defend Ukraine."
Anastasiya is Bohdan's twin sister and one of the main commanders in his army. She's a crack shot and has a good head for logistics, and she shares her brother's ultranationalist ideas. You really don't want to mess with her.
Vladimir Andreiovich Chekhov is a Russian army colonel acting as a military consultant to the Ukrainian government. He fought in the Soviet-Afghan War and seems to know Iaroslav.