A gun shop worker, now defending the capital Kyiv at night, said that those trained in using a gun were teaching territorial defence forces who have “never shot anything”. Taras Oliynyk added that civilians in the area had been “quite successful” at destroying Russian supply vehicles.
It is nearly a full month since President Vladimir Putin ordered the military into Ukraine, in an invasion which has since stalled with ground troops gaining control of a few limited areas.
The Russian offensive has morphed into the indiscriminate bombing of several areas, leaving the port city of Mariupol crushed.
As well as a strong response from the Ukrainian army, Russian forces have been thwarted by civilian efforts, with many of those remaining in the country taking up arms.
There have been reports of blockades in Kyiv, and of civilians shooting at Russian tanks from their apartments.
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In an interview with free weekly online hunting network Fieldsports Channel, released 7pm this evening (Wednesday, March 23), Mr Oliynyk noted: “People who know how to shoot and know how to shoot effectively are much better soldiers and warriors”.
Ron Hrelja, who spent twelve years living in Ukraine and runs a hunting company there, said local hunters were becoming involved in “guerrilla warfare” attacks on Russian troops, and were being used by the army for their tracking skills.
He commented: “they know the areas like the back of their hand, as you can imagine.
“They know the forest, they know all the tracks, the routes, the secret little spots.
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“They’re being used to help the army locate the enemy, then they pass on information – they work as forward scouts.”
Mr Oliynyk added: “The main target for civilian hunters in those areas are [Russian] fuel trucks, supply trucks and things that make the Russians able to continue this aggression.
“Our hunters are quite successful at this.”
Mr Oliynyk works for IBIS hunting store, to the north of the centre of Kyiv – an area that has seen intense pressure from Russian forces approaching the capital.
But he told the channel that since the war began, “I feel like I have got a second job”.
After he finishes his shift, Mr Oliynyk takes on night duties guarding the city from rooftops – “that’s my job now”.
He added that the gun shop was “now operating in very, very unusual circumstances”.