Joining the Battle, Ukrainian Civilians in Bucha Undergo Military Training

Joining the Battle, Ukrainian Civilians in Bucha Undergo Military Training
The Ukrainian Civilians in Bucha Undergo Military Training

International Military - Dozens of Ukrainian civilians dressed in khaki motifs carried out military exercises on Friday (17/6/2022) in defense positions vacated by Russian troops. Bucha, a city synonymous with war crimes accused of Moscow troops.

Holding rifles and wearing balaclavas, the volunteers are trained by the Ukrainian army and have signed up to defend their country from the onslaught of Russia. "Most of those here are not soldiers. They are just civilians who want to defend their country, 50 percent of them have never held a gun until today," said a sergeant known as "Ticha".

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Russian troops stormed Bucha, a northwestern suburb of Kiev, three days after their offensive in Ukraine began on February 24. Russian troops withdrew in April as part of a large-scale shift to the east. They left a trail of civilian corpses some with their hands tied behind them, sparking charges of war crimes.

Many Ukrainians, who had increased the ranks of the army after the invasion, had received training in the forests previously occupied by Russian soldiers. Volunteers have reclaimed the area, which is now littered with dirt, shelters and giant pits after the invading forces left the site. "The Russians dug this hole, 7,000 big holes for armored vehicles, tanks, tankers. That's a lot, and they are preparing to stay here for a long time," said spokesman for Ukraine's territorial defense forces, Valentyn Kalachnyk.

Ticha told AFP that the drills, which took place under the supervision of Ukrainian military staff, would make local residents better prepared if Moscow forces attacked Bucha again. "If the Orcs (Russian soldiers) return, we will be able to face them, unlike the first time. We are not ready for that," he said.

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"We teach them what we know, more than what you learn from the instructors sent by NATO," he continued. Kalachnyk added: "There is constant training here. There are a lot of volunteers, there is always a queue at the military enlistment office to join the army."

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