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Citizen resistance Ukrainian civilians sign up for combat training in case of Russian military escalation

Source: Meduza

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. 

An instructor teaches residents of Kharkiv how to handle weapons. This group of about a dozen women meets for similar training sessions weekly.
Evgeny Maloletka / AP / Scanpix / LETA
Members of the Territorial Defense Forces — a volunteer formation within the Ukrainian Armed Forces — learn how to assemble a Kalashnikov rifle
Evgeny Maloletka / AP / Scanpix / LETA
Members of the Territorial Defense Forces at a training session in Kharkiv 
Evgeny Maloletka / AP / Scanpix / LETA
Members of the Territorial Defense Forces line up ahead of drills in Kharkiv
Evgeny Maloletka / AP / Scanpix / LETA
Members of a Ukrainian far-right group training to repel an attack at an abandoned construction site in Kharkiv
Evgeny Maloletka / AP / Scanpix / LETA
Military drills for reservists at a training ground near Kyiv
Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA / Scanpix /LETA 
Ukrainian civilians learn survival techniques in the woods near Kyiv
Zhenya Savilov / AFP / Scanpix / LETA
Training organized by veterans of the far-right Azov Battalion (a branch of Ukraine’s National Guard). The Azov Battalion has played an active role in the fighting in the Donbas.
Gleb Garanich / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA
A military instructor and civilians with wooden replicas of Kalashnikov rifles at a training session in Kyiv. These sessions are led by instructors from the “Total Resistance” initiative, who have combat experience. Participants are taught combat tactics and proper first aid techniques.
Sergey Supinsky / AFP / Scanpix / LETA

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