Ukrainian civilians ready to stand ground against Russian forces

Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces train every Saturday to prepare for possible Russian invasion

Picture source: AP

The drive to protect their country has pushed Ukrainian civilians to partake in voluntary military training should Russia advance through to invade their soil.

One such volunteer is 51-year-old Marta Yuzkiv, who has dedicated her Saturdays to military training under the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces (UKDF). Speaking to DW, Yuzkiv, while commenting about her training, said that it felt like something out a movie. She was learning things that she saw in movies but what were basic important skills.

In undergoing military training, it is expected that civilians like Yuzkiv would stand by Ukrainian armed forces as a second line of defense if Russia enters Ukranian soil. If war breaks out, the military volunteers would be responsible for safeguarding buildings, helping army with logistics and conducting identity checks. They would also possibly need to deal with hostilities inland.

Although she adorns a military style uniform, trains rigorously with a dupe rifle and takes part in emergency drills, Yuzkiv leads an ordinary life with her husband and pets just outside of capital city Kyiv. She works remotely at a company that conducts pharmaceutical trainings, according to the media outlet.

Yuzkiv feels her life is under threat with Russia allegedly posturing itself for war. Moscow has stationed troops at the Ukrainian border since weeks now, with global powers like the US concerned that Russia would invade Ukraine.

Russia meanwhile, has denied any such claim and has called for Ukraine not to become a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

For Yuzkiv, it is unfathomable what Russia’s position could do to her life in Ukraine. She told DW that she did not wish to safeguard her life at the cost of living under possible foreign occupation if Russian forces came through the border. She added that she wanted to be prepared to fight what could come.

Yuzkiv and her husband Serhi Chornyi, who she convinced to join training as well, are of the view that they can make a difference through their training. Chornyi told DW that Russia should know that their advances would cost them.

The UTDF was founded a few years ago and they now officially respond to military command, with some having basic military training while others have learned on the job.

Yuzkiv has been keen to spread her message far and wide through journalists and is not scared that Russia possibly knows her face now. She said she was just trying to protect her country, not do any wrong.

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