This is their third session at the “The Sixth Sense” center where a team of specialists has just set up a program intended specifically for women, to introduce them to the weapons and tactics of urban combat.

The fights get closer every day in the city and Natalia Basova, 47, did not hesitate long to register with her 29-year-old daughter, Ouliana Kiachko. For her, the forehead is too close.

“I knew how to use weapons before the war. I used to go to shooting ranges, I was very interested,” she told AFP.

“But from now on, everyone has to know how to do it,” she adds, grimacing at the deafening sound of a shot just behind her.

Her husband and son, as well as her son-in-law, are on the front line. While their men fight, she and her daughter set out to learn as much as they can about urban combat.

– Learn to aim –

“Our instructor teaches us how to aim and how to use a weapon correctly,” she explains. “We already knew how to shoot but we didn’t know how to do it well, without risking injury to someone nearby.”

The training center previously only accommodated military personnel or territorial defense fighters.

But more and more women are coming to Zaporizhia to prepare for the eventual entry of Russian forces into the city. Under martial law, training is free for all townspeople.

The creator of the center Sergei Yeline, 47, explains that during basic training students learn how to stand, how to aim, techniques for controlling the trigger, breathing and different ways of shooting.

For women, the program lasts 15 hours but, he says, the basics can be learned in five or six hours.

“We have put together some tactical exercises for civilians because we all know that if the enemy enters the city, there will be street fighting,” he continued.

“And usually it happens in difficult places like ruined houses, basements or inside stores.”

– “On the front line” –

The instructors work with both military and civilians for training in three areas: basic weapons handling, a specialized course and tactical instruction for Kalashnikov assault rifles reserved in principle for special forces.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, about 4,000 people have undergone training at the center.

“We have to know how to do it, for ourselves and for our families because we are right on the front line,” thinks another student, 33-year-old Iana Piltek.

She says she is not afraid to fight and swears that she will not hesitate to come out to defend her hometown. “We train to win in a fight inside the city. If that happens, we won’t let the city down.”