Citizen resistance Ukrainian civilians sign up for combat training in case of Russian military escalation
Against the backdrop of a Russian military buildup and a deepening rift between Russia and Western countries, Ukrainians have begun to make serious preparations for an intensified war. For many, this means joining the Territorial Defense Forces — the country’s volunteer military reserve that was recently incorporated into the armed forces. In Kyiv, instructors with military experience give basic combat training to civilians wielding wooden replicas of Kalashnikov rifles. In Kharkiv, Ukrainian nationalists rehearse maneuvers at abandoned construction sites. Patriotic Ukrainian media outlets hold up these volunteers as heroes — meanwhile, they’re painted as anti-heroes in Russian state propaganda. For the rest of the world, this civilian mobilization speaks to the fact that a full-fledged war between Russia and Ukraine is a very real prospect. Here’s what this combat training looks like.