Chilling videos and photos have emerged that show young Ukrainian children and grandmothers learning to fire guns in anticipation that Russia might attack their country anytime. The chilling videos and images depict both the harsh realities of the impending fight and the Ukrainian people's steadfast defiance of Vladimir Putin.
The videos and photographs were taken at a civil defense camp in the city of Uzhhorod, in Western Ukraine, on Sunday. The videos emerged just days after the White House warned that Russia may strike Ukraine on Wednesday. This has seen many Ukrainians pledge that they will go to any extent to defend their country form a Russian invasion.
At an age when children should be going to school and the elders should be relaxing in the ambiance of quiet luxury at the homes, they have been compelled to take up guns and train themselves if Russia defends Ukraine.
Videos from a training camp held in Kiev on Sunday show children as young as 9-year olds were practicing firing guns. As the threat of invasion looms, the group of young people took part in the open military training for civilians held by activists in Kyiv.
Civilians across the country are practicing with a range of weapons as they prepare to resist an attack. Volunteer troops practiced with wooden assault rifles in Ukraine while people took part in training drills in preparation for a Russian onslaught.
One video shows children being taught how to get used to holding guns. One 79-year-old great-grandmother even took part in civilian combat training in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, on Sunday. The country's national guard can be seen in the video training the septuagenarian Valentyna Konstantynovska how to wield an AK-47 weapon.
Age isn't a factor anymore for the Ukrainians as they appear to be preparing themselves for the worst, regardless of their age or military experience. Konstantynovska, who feels that defending her country against any foreign invasion is her duty, told an NBCnews reporter during the exercise: "Your mother would do it too.
"I am reading to shoot if something happens," she told reporters. "I will defend my home, my city, my children. "I will do this because I think I'm ready for it. I don't want to lose my country, my city."
Members of Ukraine's special forces unit have also been training residents to assemble and dissemble a gun, load ammunition and aim at targets. Some parents even brought their children to the training in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
The training is taking places, as western leaders strive to ease the increasing tensions in Ukraine. Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is in Kyiv today for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky.
Reports based on US intelligence assessments have suggested an invasion could be launched as soon as Wednesday.
Concerned about the threat posed by 120,000 Russian troops stationed near the Ukrainian border, Kyiv established a new Territorial Defense force this year, with the goal of expanding it to 130,000 individuals. While reservists may have little chance against the considerably larger and better-equipped professional Russian army, they may be charged with protecting civilian locations in the capital in the event of a confrontation.
Meanwhile, residents in Ukraine are purchasing their own firearms and military equipment in preparation for a possible invasion by Russia.