“They are all there voluntarily”: these Ukrainians who train to shoot to defend their country

Nicolas Tonev (special correspondent in kyiv), edited by Gauthier Delomez / Photo credits: Genya SAVILOV / AFP
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7:40 a.m., February 25, 2024

With a war brewing and Russian troops advancing, many Ukrainians who have not yet been mobilized or cannot be mobilized are taking up shooting, to defend themselves or the country just in case. Europe 1 met civilians undergoing training in the southern suburbs of kyiv.

Using shotguns, or piecemeal with assault rifles, Ukrainians not yet mobilized or unable to be mobilized on the front against Russia take up shooting in the forests of the southern suburbs of Kiev, to defend themselves or the country, just in case. “Targets at 25 meters!” shouts Igor, the instructor, who holds his group of six with an iron fist. “One magazine of one bullet, three magazines of two bullets, and time limit,” he indicates, the shots following his instructions.

“They are all there voluntarily. I make sure that they are ready to fight: psychologically, physically, tactically ready, and above all ready to fire,” says Igor at the microphone of Europe 1’s special envoy to Ukraine.

400 euros for three lessons

The student Sacha, a 40-year-old engineer with a youthful appearance, carries an AR-15 civilian version automatic rifle and a brand-new military outfit. He became fierce. “I’ve been coming here for a year, I paid for my weapon myself. I’m not mobilized, I’m a civilian, but I want to be prepared,” he says, raising the possibility of going on the forehead. “Yes, no one can say when it will end. That’s why I want to be ready.”

Reassuring yourself before going to the front is not accessible to everyone. It costs around 400 euros for three lessons, ammunition included.

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