A Polish firearms training company said it has become more interested in learning how to shoot since the war started in Ukraine, with many people taking shooting lessons for the first time in their lives.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed a wave of fear in Central Europe and some people in NATO member Poland, Ukraine’s western neighbor, have inquired about the military and learning how to use weapons.
“Interest has quadrupled or quintupled since the start of the war in Ukraine,” said Piotr Mioduchowski, co-owner of Prime Minister Shooter. Before the war, they had 30-35 calls a day to reserve a seat, now they get more than 200, he said.
He added that most who came to the firing range in the past month had never handled firearms before. Fearing that the war would spread beyond Ukraine, some people sought the skills to defend themselves, he said.
One of PM Shooter’s regulars, Sergiusz Regula, 25, said that although he had trained for several months, after the war broke out, he decided to learn to shoot a Kalashnikov.
“We saw in Ukraine, in Kiev, that these Kalashnikovs were distributed to the civilian population… If weapons were distributed like in Kiev, I would stand in line to defend my city, my home and my family” , he said. †
The Territorial Defense Forces (WOT), the Polish voluntary militia modeled after the US National Guard, has seen a sevenfold increase in interest since the start of the war.
“The spectacular successes of territorial defense there (in Ukraine) have changed the perception of our territorial forces,” WOT said in a statement.
Some Ukrainians living in Poland, which before the war had the region’s largest Ukrainian community of about 1 million people, began learning at shooting ranges in Poland before joining the military in Ukraine.
“I can’t stand on the sidelines. I want to go, I want to defend,” said Andrii Drahan, a 27-year-old taxi driver, after his second lesson. He plans to return to Ukraine on Monday to fight.
“We will not live under Russia, that’s for sure.”
Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 for what it calls a “special operation” it says aims to destroy the military capabilities of its neighbors and capture what it sees as dangerous nationalists.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)