Monday, October 3, 2022

Czechs provide free shooting training for local Ukrainians

BRNO, Czech Republic – Olha Dembitska fired the first four shots in her life with an AK-47 rifle, one of which hit the target.

“It is very difficult the first time,” admitted the 22-year-old Ukrainian woman.

On this occasion, the target was the size of a human body at a shooting range in the Czech Republic. Next time, it could realistically be in Ukraine, and the target could be one of the Russian soldiers who have invaded his homeland.

Dembitska is one of at least 130 men and women who have so far received free training for Ukrainians living in the Czech Republic who want to learn how to fight an attacker.

“I can return to Ukraine if they need me,” she said.

Almost none of the participants had any experience with weapons before the war invaded their homeland.

Since Russia launched its brutal assault, Ukrainians from all parts of the country and elsewhere have been flocking to the Czech Republic’s second largest city, Brno, to teach them the skills and skills needed to safely handle deadly rifles. while being able to kill them. damage on their enemy.

In addition to learning to shoot, the courses give them the basics about guns, movement around the battlefield, and a lesson in providing first aid, something that can save lives if they are mobilized by their beleaguered country or decide to return home as volunteers to join it. Ukrainian Army.

They are all inspired.

“It’s terrible,” said Dembitska about the situation in her homeland. He gets his news from social media and from phone calls with a friend based in the southern city of Kherson, which was seized by Russian troops in the early stages of the invasion.

“She tells me everything. They haven’t got humanitarian aid. What the Russian soldiers are doing is appalling, I’m upset about it.”

Michal Ratajsky, owner of CS Solutions, a security company that offers training programs at his base on the outskirts of Brno, about 200 kilometers (125 mi) southeast of Prague, called it “our contribution to help the Ukrainians”. said.

“We see it as a morale boost that we are giving them in this situation, an effort to show that we are supporting them and that we will do what we can for them at this point in time,” Ratajsky said. said. “He was our inspiration and goal.”

A crowdfunding campaign helped secure substantial funding for ammunition, while his company provided the rest, including experienced trainers, weapons, and a shooting range.

Ratajsky said that brief, three-hour training may not work wonders, but should be enough to introduce Ukrainians to new, unfamiliar skills.

“We know we don’t make their troops in those three hours,” he said. “We try to do the maximum for them in time, with a focus on their safety.”

Some participants have returned to the lessons over and over again. Some have come from as far away as Vienna. in neighboring Austria. Some took courses from Western Europe on their way back to Ukraine, Ratajsky said.

He said Ukrainians are united in anger over the Russian aggression and are determined to end it.

“They take it seriously and want to do something about it.”

He said that because in a war like Ukraine, about 80% percent of troop losses are caused by artillery and missiles, a sense of self-preservation and knowledge of first aid may be more useful for survival than shooting.

“We are aware of what we can prepare them for and don’t make it a secret,” Ratajsky said.

Yehor Nechiporenko, 38, who traveled some 260 kilometers (160 mi) from the city of Mlada Bolesaw to Brno for the second time, said he was helping Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the Czech Republic but were unable to return home. want to be ready. War.

“It’s very useful for me,” he said of the training. “I really like it. I need to learn those things because I didn’t do military service.”

Nechiporenko said that he was sure that the Russians have no chance to take the whole country.

“I think the war will be over in a few months,” he said. “And if we see we’re losing, we’ll all travel home.”


Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the war

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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