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Ukrainian says he ‘regrets’ not training with gun before Russian invasion

An M4A1 rifle. (MaxPixel/Released)
March 07, 2022

A Ukrainian man who found himself facing the Russian invasion in Kyiv said that he regrets “like hell” not training with a firearm before the war broke out.

In a Financial Times op-ed titled, “Letter from Ukraine: the language of war,” writer Oleksandr Mykhed of Hostomel near Kyiv describes being “woken up by war.”

“The play that I wanted to write about ‘Anxiety’ in premonition of war should have had a refrain: The Four Primary Rules of Firearm Safety, echoing what is being taught during the first lesson of handling firearms. I’d never held a gun in my hands till February 2022,” Mykhed wrote. “My wife and I had several hours of training just to figure out what to do with it. Just in case. And now I regret like hell that I didn’t do that training before.”

After Russian President Vladimir Putin first ordered the attack on Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he would give anyone who wants to defend the nation a weapon.

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” Zelenskyy wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”

Within one day of his announcement, 18,000 rifles were delivered to volunteer forces in Kyiv.

Mykhed said Ukrainians will “never forgive” the “Russian occupants” who he described as breaking into people’s homes, “pointing guns to their heads, forcing them on to their knees, then making them leave.”

“Every one of us has got a list of things that we will never forgive this war and its occupying forces for. I opened my count on that first morning. It started with a chat with my mother — her windows face Hostomel’s airfield grounds, near to where my wife and I have our home. She is a university professor, a specialist in ancient literature and 19th-century American writers. We had a telephone conversation just after the first raid on the airport,” he wrote.

“And the same voice that used to sing me lullabies was now saying over the phone: ‘Son, first, second, fourth, seventh, 10th helicopter. Dear Lord!’ Then she told me that she had just seen Apocalypse Now unfold in front of her very eyes,” he continued. “I shall never forgive them for this. Every one of us has a list — it is endless.”

Mykhed also called on “foreign media” to call “things what they really are.”

“We need your voices in foreign media. Not just the avatars on Facebook but calling things what they really are. War is war and Putin is a murderer. We need your presence in the squares and streets of Russian cities. We need your money for the Ukrainian army which will put an end to this chaos. In Ukraine, the name of the war criminal who started this is now being written without a capital letter, like a name of a disease,” he said.