(Lviv) Rifle shooting, Kalashnikov dismantling and drone piloting training: in this training center in Lviv, in western Ukraine, around ten teenagers are training for a very real war, which has lasted since more than a year and a half.
Girls and boys, in turn, take a black assault rifle in their hands, holding it awkwardly under the eyes of their instructor, learning to shoot at virtual targets in a forest landscape, which is displayed through a projector on a white screen.
In another class, a man in an army uniform with a Ukrainian flag on his shoulder shows students how to take apart and reassemble a Kalashnikov, piece by piece.
Then it’s time to familiarize yourself with handguns, grenades, mines and gas masks. So many elements which are now part of daily life on the front in Ukraine.
“I am very happy that such a military center was opened, and there is a lot to do here,” says Danyl Portchenko, a high school student.
On the table, a series of weapons are displayed: sniper rifles, portable rocket launchers or anti-tank weapons.
Another lesson: shooting with an air rifle against targets a few meters away.
“This is extremely interesting and necessary training,” says Olena because “we live in wartime and we don’t know what will happen in the future. We may need it at any time.”
Iryna admits that her “eyes light up” when she shoots a rifle. “I get such enthusiasm from it,” she says.
“I hope we won’t need it, but just in case, we need to know everything,” she adds.
Then comes the piloting of virtual drones, via a computer program, while these flying machines have become essential in modern conflicts, including in Ukraine.
Some students try it with a controller in their hands, following predefined circuits.
“It’s a very well-known program at the moment. We are learning to fly. This is very useful, because the situation is such that one day we may need these skills,” notes Vladyslav Rudyk.
At 19e months of the Russian invasion, the conflict is omnipresent in Ukrainian society, to the point of interfering in children’s games and school programs.
In Russia, the authorities have reintroduced military training into the school curriculum, which also includes training adolescents to pilot drones and familiarize themselves with weapons of war.