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Ukrainian Teens Deployed on Frontlines After ‘Three Days’ Basic Training’: BBC

Published: March 15, 2022
Teenage volunteers in Ukraine are being sent to the frontlines of Kiev after a mere three days of training, says BBC.
Members of the Georgian National Legion paramilitary volunteer unit instruct a thirteen-year-old boy learning to shoot for the first time during a training course at a shooting range on February 10, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

A weekend BBC article reported that boys as young as 18 who volunteered to serve the Ukrainian armed forces are being sent to the frontlines after a meager three days of training.

Journalist Jeremy Bowen described his experience with a group of teenagers he interviewed at a recruiting facility near Kiev. After a brief three-day initiation, they would be sent directly to the frontlines, if not at positions close to the zone of battle.

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One 18-year-old volunteer named Dmytro discussed with Bowen the merits of his brief training: “I got used to my gun. I learned how to shoot and how to act in the battle, also many other things that will be very crucial in the fight with the Russians.” 

His 19-year-old comrade Maksym expressed similar sentiments: “I feel much more confident than I was before because we get enough knowledge in tactics, in martial arts, in tactical medicine, and in how to do something on the battlefield.” 

Similar stories

The parable of Maksym and Dmytro appears to corroborate with the account of British volunteer Jake Priday, who spoke to fellow volunteers who had received three to five days of training before being sent to the front, according to a March 11 article in The Economist.

“You were told that you would go where you are most needed,” Priday said. He claimed that most volunteers received three to five days of training, which consisted of basic map-reading and medical skills, with some rudimentary weapon training on the third day.

After the crash course, the volunteers would be sent to the school of hard knocks at frontier-or-near areas, Priday said.

Priday’s foray into the Ukrainian army lasted only nine hours because he refused to sign a contract, which paid the equivalent of US$230 a month, subjected signatories to martial law, and lasted for an indefinite period.

Other anomalies

According to Russian state media, young men are being rounded up for service in the Ukrainian army to bolster the country’s limited number of trained troops and reservists. In major cities like Kharkiv, Odessa, and Mykolaiv, all men aged from 18 to 60 are being forced to join battalions.

The announcement was made by Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Center for Defense Management, at a presser on Monday. 

“In large cities such as Kharkiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv, members of nationalist units, under the threat of physical reprisals against family members of men from 18 to 60 years old, force them to enroll in territorial defense battalions,” Mizintsev said. 

The officer also claimed that members of the Ukraine militia also raided financial institutions in the city of Zaporozhe. “Citizens with significant financial savings are kidnapped, forcibly detained, and get their money taken away at gunpoint, allegedly for the needs of territorial defense units,” he said.

The only way out

Mizintsev additionally claimed that military units have sealed all entry and exit roads to and from the city, practically detaining everyone. The only way out, he said, was paying huge ransoms or surrendering basically all their possessions.

In a second article by Russian state media outlet TASS, Mizintsev also said that nearly 7,000 foreigners are being held hostage in Ukraine as all major seaports are being sealed off by fighters of the Ukrainian territorial defense battalions.

“As many as 6,972 citizens of 22 countries, as well as crews of more than 50 foreign ships blocked in Ukraine’s seaports, are still held hostage by militants of territorial defense battalions,” Mizintsev said while accusing Ukrainian authorities of not cooperating with foreign inquiries into the current situation of their citizens.