In Handy 13:28 13 Jun 2023

How to pass pre-military training: online platforms and full-fledged preparatory courses

The war continues, and this means that more and more civilians will have to join the military over time. Therefore, today Ukrainians with no military experience are already looking for various schools and preparatory courses. Rubryka has collected the most efficient ones in the following piece.

What is the problem?

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, many Ukrainians with no military experience found themselves on the battlefield. Over a year into the war, civilians feel the necessity to prepare themselves for battle, so the demand for pre-military courses is quite high. So is the number of imposters disguising themselves as professional military. In a video on the Television Toronto YouTube channel, journalist and fighter of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Michael Shchur, exposed a pseudo-instructor who positioned his classes as military-tactical training for civilians and military personnel.

The problem is not limited to one pseudo-instructor — unfortunately, many are willing to make money from the war, and not every one of them burdens themself with thoughts that by teaching their audience the wrong things, they can kill them. This leads to many wanting to teach others about pre-military training without knowing how to do anything.

What is the solution?

As the military themselves note, widespread coaching did not appear yesterday: someone teaches тeuro-linguistic programming, someone teaches yoga, someone grows seedlings, and someone teaches fighting. Not everyone can be admitted to combat training in the military unit. Training is carried out according to the established procedure with the involvement of exclusively professional instructors. However, the risk of encountering an impostor is quite significant for civilians who want to undergo military training. After all, in Ukraine, there is a consistently high demand for courses and trainings where the basics of military affairs, tactical medicine, self-defense, and shooting are studied.

Rubryka has collected a selection of proven military courses. We talked with the volunteer organization Center for Special Tactical Training Kuznia Vilnykh instructor about how and why civilians should study today.

YouTube channels, applications, and other online resources

Online courses where you can get basic knowledge of military affairs (the Territorial Defense Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces created the list):

  • G7 Sprotyv is an information resource created by the Department of Training of the Headquarters of the Territorial Defense Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is noted that the resource has the most extensive military knowledge base on the Internet. The materials are divided into 17 subgroups, which include lessons on fire, psychology, engineering training, and other areas. On the site, you will also find the legal framework and a selection of military instructions.
  • Combat Raccoon is a YouTube channel with translations of military materials. Moving and ambushing a platoon, adjusting the artillery fire, or using the Fagot anti-tank missile — everything is explained there.
Combat Raccoon

Combat Raccoon chevron 

  • Basic military training is a video training course that teaches how to properly handle weapons, move in combat conditions, use shelters, camouflage, navigate the terrain, and set up positions. The author of the video lessons is a Ukrainian military service member with the call sign Syrian. He participated in the Syrian war on the side of the Free Syrian Army against the forces of Bashar al-Assad, and now he is fighting in the Ukrainian army against the Russians.
  • The TacticMedAid mobile application has two directions: civilian and military. The civilian part is aimed mostly at stopping the bleeding since blood loss is considered the most common and most dangerous cause of death in war. The part for the military contains explanations of action algorithms for various common types of injuries and wounds in combat conditions.
  • The Prometheus educational platform has opened a free online course, Base: Modern Military Training, created by the ASKOLD Special Training Center. The course program covers directions from general training and living conditions at the front to types of weapons, tactical training, aerial surveillance, and military tactics. The estimated completion time is 13 hours, which will help form the theoretical foundation of the main military disciplines.

навчання перед мобілізацієюMilitary training course poster demonstrates a soldier saluting the Ukrainian flag

  • Yablunya platform. The site contains a theoretical base on the main topics of military affairs from various public sources, useful links, lists of training centers, and courses. This resource will be more beneficial for beginners in the military business.
  • The Mozart Group library was created for the Ukrainian military. It contains helpful information — from combat tactics to instructions for using weapons, working with explosives, and providing medical assistance.


Offline schools for civilians

There are offline schools for those who want not only to read or watch. Since the state cannot provide professional training to all those who wish to it, this mission has been undertaken by non-governmental organizations and charitable foundations.

  • The Ukrainian Legion NGO organizes free military training courses. Training is conducted in Kyiv, the Kyiv region, Lviv and Kharkiv. The course lasts four weeks and consists of three stages: introductory, elementary, and basic. The first two courses are intended for beginners. They are limited in time and aim to introduce people to the basics of military affairs. The basic course involves regular training in the permanent composition of educational units. It aims to train territorial defense units capable of military resistance to an aggressor. The course teaches:
  • handling weapons;
  • moving under fire;
  • using shelter, disguising yourself;
  • orientating yourself on the terrain and engineering your positions.

It also provides the basics of giving pre-medical care. With the consent of the parents, teenagers can also attend the courses.

Український ЛегіонThe training process in the Ukrainian Legion is suitable for beginners

  • Taktyka.ua, together with the Spas-23 military battalion, conducts tactical medicine and combat training in the Kyiv region. In the introductory one-day course, a team of military instructors teaches first aid, working with tourniquets, handling weapons, and aiming fire. There is a Tactical Medicine block, and in the Tactical fire training block, they teach how to disassemble a Kalashnikov rifle and shoot with several types of automatic weapons. Participants who have passed the first stage of training can register for an advanced two-day course, which will include aerial surveillance, advanced target fire, and work as part of a combat team.
  • The public association Create Yourself in Kyiv teaches the culture of handling weapons. Thanks to instructors with experience in combat operations and sports competitions, the course participants will acquire skills in using weapons. The association conducts trainings, shooting events, and tactical sports competitions for NGOs, sports groups, state institutions, reservists, and territorial defense, and prepares for practical work with weapons.

The training program includes the following:

    • safety measures for handling weapons;
    • manipulation of weapons;
    • the practice of fine and gross motor skills;
    • work with aiming devices;
    • stance, holding, control of weapons during shooting, tab.

A woman is learning how to shoot at one of the Create yourself classes

  • In Ivano-Frankivsk, military training courses for civilians are conducted by the Brave Ukrainians charitable foundation. The course program is divided into two levels, each lasting five days. At first, they study psychological preparation, tactical medicine, patrolling the territory, training and basic principles of combat, communication, orientation in space, and teamwork coordination. The second level is aimed at practicing the tactics of small groups. You can register here.
  • The Center for Civilian Readiness, a project of the Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation, has set itself the goal of teaching the civilian population basic military training and providing them with the skills needed during wartime. There are 16 branches in different cities in Ukraine. One hundred ninety-two trainings have already been held within the center's framework, which 4,400+ civilian Ukrainians attended. You can get to the training after registration by filling out the form in your city center. Look for a center's branch in your city and register for trainings using the link.

This is not an action movie

Unfortunately, visits by professional instructors are rare in small towns and villages. Someone who wants to undergo military training in practice will most likely have to go to the regional center or look for a military person they trust among their acquaintances. But do all civilians need to acquire combat skills?

навчання з такмеду

Military education. Illustrative photo

The Kuznia Vilnykh Special Tactical Training Center, which teaches tactical training to the infantry units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, believes that not everyone does. The current system of training centers for civilian and military schools was largely a tribute to fashion and a consequence of the situation at the beginning of the war when the country faced full-scale aggression. Then, in March 2022, columns of enemy equipment were coming to Ukrainian cities, and it was really difficult to predict how events would develop. Therefore, it was necessary for all Ukrainians, even those in the deep rear, to master weapons and learn to conduct combat operations in any area.

"Today, the system works differently. Now, when the front line has stabilized, it is worth transferring the efforts and experience of military specialists directly to the units where there is a catastrophic lack of military instructors," says Anatolii Pavelko, head of the combat training department of Kuznia Vilnykh. "After all, most of those who have combat experience and could share it are now at the front." He has been working as an instructor since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation. Before that, he was a member of the anti-terroristic operation in the east of Ukraine and has gained combat experience in volunteer infantry units since 2014.

Pavelko said that Kuznia Vilnykh conducts training precisely in military units — both in the rear and at the front, where it will have the maximum effect because only a small percentage of skills can be given outside the unit.

Військовий вишкіл

Military education. Illustrative photo

The army is not individual combat operations or an action movie, explains Pavelko. This is, first of all, teamwork. The coordination of the team takes place after certain people with a set of certain individual qualities get there. Everything is considered — psycho-emotional state, physical capabilities, etc. The instructor's task is not just to teach individual people to run with weapons but to create an adequate and combat-ready collective unit from them. Then at the end, there will be a prepared unit where fighters know how to work with each other, and division and platoon commanders know how to lead.

The expert says it's much more useful than just showing civilians how to assemble or disassemble a machine gun or hide behind buildings. Therefore, the resource of professional instructors should be directed in this direction.

The instructor shares that when he participated in the training of civilians, he saw the following trend: if, in the beginning, most motivated people came to the training, ready to defend the Motherland with weapons, then since the fall of 2022, 40% of people who came to the courses had the goal of playing with a machine gun, take photos, sign 'we are ready' and post them somewhere. "Such a waste of the resources of valuable instructors is useless and unacceptable. In addition, such a request provokes the appearance of the pseudo-instructors, who also shoot bright videos about their activities," says  Pavelko.

Even more useful solutions!

Even after victory, Ukraine will continue to live next door to an aggressive, violent country. Considering this, the Committee of Ukraine's Parliament on Education, Science, and Innovation announced the introduction of courses on the basics of tactical medicine and tactical training, as well as the security officer staff unit, in secondary schools, as announced by Serhii Babak, Chairman of the Committee on Education, Science, and Innovation. The Institute for the Modernization of the Content of Education, responsible for the content of these disciplines, is working on this. "We need to decide on the concept of who will teach these disciplines. Because we really don't want us to return to the practice when a retired pensioner would tell what is happening now," the official said.

According to Babak, these disciplines can be taught by veterans or territorial defense fighters.

"There will be the basics of tactical medicine, tactical training, with training being required equally for both boys and girls. The program may differ to one degree or another, but it should be very similar. Therefore, both boys should understand medicine, and girls should have skills in handling weapons," explained the head of the committee.

In addition, he believes that such subjects should be taught not only in grades 10 to 11 but also earlier, from grades eight to nine.

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