Amid continued Russian attacks, the ukrainian civilians They prepare for possible enlistment in the army in courses offered by volunteers in which they learn to handle weapons and provide medical assistance.
A dozen men and women follow the instructions of a man dressed as a military man in a converted swimming pool in Lviv. They are all civilians and are here for an intensive three-day course in the basics of military life.
In the first two days they learn how to safely hold an assault rifle, assemble and disassemble it, and move with it on the battlefield.
Some, like 17-year-old Olena, hold a Kalashnikov rifle, while others sport a wooden model. However, everyone shares the feeling that sooner or later they will probably have to join to the defense forces of his country.
“I am psychologically prepared for this to happen in one or two years. I want to make sure I know what I’ll have to do then,” says Olena, a college sophomore.
“In the army there are no men or women, only soldiers” says “Lumi’, their instructor, while giving orders.
“Much of what I am showing you now may seem irrelevant. However, on the battlefield, only the mastery of these skills can save them from panic and save their lives,” he explains to the participants while they practice their movements while holding a weapon.
“Lumi” has extensive combat experience, and became an instructor after being injured. He now collaborates with the volunteer battalion “Lion” of the Lviv community.
Most of the battalion members cannot participate in active combat due to health problems or age restrictions, but they still contribute in many ways, he explained to the agency. EFE your commander, Valentyn Serediuk.
Volunteers rely on their own funds and supporters, both inside and outside Ukraine, to help shoot down drones “Shahed”produce their own and offer highly specialized military training.
Preparation of civilians for military service is one of the key areas.
More than 4,000 civilians have gone through various types of training offered by the battalion in less than two years and more than 500 have eventually joined the army.
While interest peaked after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, it remains stable as many civilians accept that the war is likely to continue for a long time.
“People are afraid of the unknown. By giving our future soldiers some key military knowledge before they even join the army, we give them confidence and increase our chances of winning,” stated Serediuk..
“Continuous practice is key,” stressed a medical instructor who shows participants how to stop massive bleeding in just under 30 secondsthe time they would have on the battlefield before passing out.
One of them, Andriy, a 37-year-old computer scientist, also attended shooting training offered by another initiative.
“Everyone is going to have to take up arms sooner or later and it is important to master the basics first,” Andriy said, while stating that local authorities and the state should do more to prepare civilians.
For now, Andriy is exploring more options offered by other volunteer groups, such as the Civilian Readiness Center, run by the foundation Sergiy Prytula.
Demand is high, he says. “Once an ad appears online, it takes a few hours until all the available spots are filled.”
Meanwhile, Olena will participate in a two-day intensive training by the “León” battalion next week. “Like everyone who was born in this country, I have to be willing to defend it,” the teenager calmly emphasizes.
(With information from EFE)