Practice for a Russian Invasion: Ukrainian Civilians Take Up Arms

Here, Ukrainian nationalists on the outskirts conduct shooting exercises. Today...

Based on the news coming today from Ukraine, we should also take a deep breath and evaluate what we need to do. Here. In our country.

David DeGerolamo

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It remains unclear what Russia might have in store for eastern Ukraine, but nationalist groups are preparing for the worst. The right-wing scene in the country is varied and complex, but one thing is certain: It is attracting an increasing number of followers.

On the outskirts of Kiev, men lay on the ground, rifles at the ready. For the moment, they’re firing at cardboard, but soon the targets could include Russian soldiers or eastern Ukrainian separatists. The black-red banners of Ukrainian nationalists flap above them — among the trees of the derelict troop training area where Soviets once learned how to shoot.

Ready, aim, “breathe deeply and think before you fire,” yells Mykola Ishenko, 48. Two decades ago, he was a drill sergeant in the Ukrainian army. Now he’s stuffed himself back into a uniform and wants to make the transition from civilian to fighter. They exercise, throw knives, engage in hand-to-hand combat. Due to a lack of sandbags, they kick and punch logs.

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h/t Tom R

      
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