Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Is Sending 18-Year-Olds to the Frontline After 3 Days of Training
If you sign up in a region near the front it's straight to the front for you
Just over a week ago I met a group of young men who had volunteered at a centre in Kyiv to fight for Ukraine.
Most of them were in their late teens, not long out of school. They told me that after three days’ basic training they would head for the front line – or very close to it.
Maksym Lutsyk, a 19-year-old biology student, told me he wasn’t fazed about trying to become a soldier after less than a week of instruction. He’d manage, after five years in the Scouts, not just learning backwoods skills, but also some weapons training. He was 10 when Ukraine’s long war with separatists sponsored by Moscow started in 2014.
Maksym had gone to join up with his friend Dmytro Kisilenko, 18, who was studying economics at the same university.
The recruits were like any bunch of young lads who had decided they were no longer boys, laughing too loudly when someone told jokes to hide their nerves, or trying a bit of bravado.
Some of them were wearing knee pads that looked too small, as if they had come with skateboards on their 12th birthdays. A few had sleeping bags. One had a yoga mat. When they waited outside for the bus that was going to be taking them to the training base, they looked like friends on the way to a festival – apart from the guns. Each had been given custody of a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
I’m in touch with Dmytro and Maksym and the other volunteers. This weekend I went to see them at their posts on the eastern edge of the city, where they have been issued with uniforms, body armour, proper infantry kneepads and helmets.
A bitter wind blew through the checkpoint which the volunteers were trying to turn into a real obstacle with sandbags and steel tank traps. They made the best of their very basic training.
Dmytro told me: “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.” He laughed, as if he found it hard to imagine what he was contemplating.
Maksym looked more urgent, more serious, less like a laid-back student.
“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.” Only half joking, he wanted to see the Ukrainian flag flying from the Kremlin.
The question on everyone’s mind here is whether the battle is coming for Kyiv.
“It’s definitely possible” said Dmytro. “We just have to stop them here, because if they get to Kyiv this war might be over.”
They are from the same town near the Russian border, which is being shelled. Their families are still there. I asked the boys what their parents thought of what they were doing. Maksym joked that his mother had told him to stay in a shelter and volunteer to cook the food. He had spared them the details of his deployment because he didn’t want to worry them.
Dmytro’s parents knew what he was doing. He had started by volunteering to make Molotov cocktails and after a few days rang his dad to tell him he had decided to join the territorial defence force. His father told him not to try too hard to be a hero.
My parents, Dmytro said, are proud of what I’m doing. He looked delighted. I asked him if he felt scared of what is ahead.
“Not much, but it is human nature to feel scared, and of course deeply in my soul I feel a bit scared, as no one wants to die, even if it’s for your country. So, death is not an option for us.”
The two young Ukrainian students-turned-soldiers went back to work on the checkpoint. The professional army is a couple of miles ahead, directly facing the Russians.
But if the Russians come, like all the volunteers, Maksym and Dmytro will be firing out of the trenches they helped dig into the surrounding ground, where boxes of Molotov cocktails are waiting – old bottles filled with petrol and pieces of grated polystyrene and stuffed with a rag to ignite what they hope might even disable a tank.
BBC == nothing but the truth.
It is not 18 year old scouts who are holding up progress in Mariupol and Harkov.
Just 8 year old kids and 80 year old people.
Typical NATO tactic, hide among the civilians. Ukraine received the same training ISIS got.
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What a good way to wipe out these scums. Brilliant. Send more every day until there is no more left of them. Russia is happy to gun them down. Or bomb them.
The propaganda exceeds anything I have seen in my 70+ years on this rock.
They seem to sound exactly like my great-uncle before he got killed in Langemark. 1914.
Cowards….Whe n they seereal war,shit their undies and cries for mama..
The average age of a Grunt in Vietnam was something like 19, and a half, but we at least were well trained.
Well trained to kill villagers?
No, fool, well trained to wage war which the Ukie conscripts, with 3 days training, are certainly not. Just when I thought my opinion of you could go no lower you once again amaze me.
So, wage war like the Ukrainians were on Donbas?
Chump ass pogue.. Why don’t you volunteer? Coward
BABY Killer. How many did you kill in nam? POS
As near as I could count 50 to 55 with individual weapons, and hundreds with supporting air, and artillery. I was very good at my job, and lucky. As for babies: We were never involved in urban areas, and besides it wasn’t sporting because babies didn’t shoot back. So tell me, Jim, how does it feel to be a zero trigger time gutless puke ??
Too bad he didn’t get your mama. Or whatever whore tossed your screaming self into a dumpster
Back in the 1980’s, Paul Hardcastle had a hit song about this, called “19”.
Thanks for the link, and thanks for the rush. I was an old guy, 21, when I did my first tour, 23 on second, and 25 when I ended my third. I’m 75 now, but if the Powerz told me that they would make me 25 again, and send me back in I’d go in an instant as long as they promised I wouldn’t come back. Trust me, old age is worse than ‘Nam any day.
Definitely envy your Vietnam guys. Those little brown F**King Machines beat the hell out of sexless Iraq. Had to have smelled better than what we had to deal with as well. Figured that the hajis preferred goats because their women smelled worse
Now that brings back memories. I was there when girls were $2.00 then up to $20.00, and by 1973 they were back down to $2.00. A fine example of free enterprise: Supply, and demand.
That was whole idea – young and dumb, wont question anything ordered and told. But in middling 1960’s the USA still had big trouble filling conscript ranks to get their targeted manpower levels for Vietnam deployment. Elites and middle classes enrolled in college and working classes enrolled in National Guard to avoid the draft. So US gov dropped the IQ entry level previously required for military service. Meaning, previously ruled out candidates, deemed intellectually incompetent to handle military roles were now pulled in, and in huge numbers – ie, 350,000. These were known as McNamara’s Morons – after the then US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. This is what 1990’s US film Forrest Gump kinda addresses – the lesser IQ draftees sent to Vietnam.
The two in the picture seem to be females.
Unluckily for them they won’t see any russian, they will probably just be a splatter on the road after an artillery salvo hits them.
They are cannon fodder, soon to become chutney on the road.
Their corrupt government is using them simply to buy a little more time
in the hope that NATO will come into the war to save their neo-nazi asses.
Hope these young men get out alive and learn a valuable lesson. It may take years but they’ll get the drift and look back and see how manipulated the whole country was.
NATO bastards with Zelenskij’ war criminals send kids to front line. All Ukraine Nazi killers like Azov battalion should be eliminated completely.
Ukrainian Kiev Junta-Regime has been doing Volkstrumm 2.0 since February. The Ukrainian conscript pool is now ALL males 18-60. Yep, 60. Kiev also has same Nazi Germany style parallel organizations of regular military formations and ideological military formations, akin to Nazi German Wehrmact and Waffen SS. In Ukrainian case there is regular AUF Battalions and the neo-Banderist ASOV, Adair, Donbass Battalions that are filled with neo-fascists (the Ukrainians are Banderists and the foreign recruits, recruited by CIA over last eight years, are basic neo-Nazis). This latter neo-fascists contingent, both the domestic and foreign, are not the brightest sparks, these are low IQ misfits, albeit very angry and aggressive, and their tattoos reveal who they are – fortunately, the Russians can easily ID them from these self markings. As in WWII, it is now up to Russian’s to destroy Europe’s assembled neo-fascists militarized Battalion groupings – and as in WWII, the Germans and the Finns are sponsoring and supplying weapons to these neo-fascist Battalions fighting an ideological war against the Russians in Ukraine.