Russian military conscripts in the region of Samara are being trained for conflict by an unlikely set of teachers – the local airsoft association.
Reports published in Mediazona have claimed that the mobilised men have been sent to undertake training led by Anton Ptichikin, the head of an airsoft group. Ptichkin and his fellow airsoft enthusiasts have led training for over 600 recruits, and are expected to begin training another group of similar size in the next 2-3 weeks.
Airsoft is a team game similar to paintball, where players engage in simulated gun combat, using plastic pellets rather than bullets. The local association in Samara have uploaded videos to their social media, in order to demonstrate that the training they are giving does not only include airsoft equipment, but in the words of Ptichkin, “we are using military-issued weapons loaded with blanks, as well as mock weapons in order to make the training as realistic as possible”.
Pitchkin adds that some of his instructors do have battlefield experience from having fought in Ukraine previously. He adds that he has received direct support from the local governor in running this training.
During the mobilisation effort, many conscripts have complained about a lack of combat training or that which they have received has been of subpar quality. One recruit from Kaliningrad previously told Mediazona that he received 15 minutes of medical training before being sent to the frontline.
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