How a Kyiv gunshop is helping to fight the Russians

by Deborah Hadfield

Hunters and shooters are still fighting for their lives in Ukraine. Taras Oliynyk works for local gunshop IBIS Hunting and Guns in Kyiv. He says their skills are making all the difference.

The 47-year-old says they’ve helped keep the Russians have been kept out of the capital. He says: “Now the Russians are gone. Our forces throw them away from Kyiv region and many other areas. I don’t hear explosions through my window anymore, at least not as many. It’s still not completely safe in Kiev. But life is coming back into the city. So, we are much, much safer now than we were before.”

Now that the capital city has become less dangerous, Taras is working full time in the shop again. He says: “Our job is pretty important for the defence forces because there’s a lot of guys that go into our store to buy ammunition, buy accessories, optics, even weapon like guns, rifles and whatever we still have in our assortment. And this is the main job that I do right now.”

Taras and his colleagues at the gun shop in Kyiv also support shooters in other areas too. He says: “Right now, there is the main battle for Donetsk region, for Donbas, as they call it.”

Taras used to teach people to shoot deer, boar, and foxes. Now, he gives hunters specialist training to shoot Russians. He says: “Teaching and information that is just as important as anything. I teach people how to use thermal vision devices and night vision devices. What to do with thermal vision scopes, how you can choose between different times of thermal vision, because lots of our guys are looking for monocular scopes and clip on attachments right now. I teach people about ballistics. What I know about shooting longer ranges because, you know, in the city, it’s close range. If shooting happens, it’s like a hundred, 200, 300 meters, not much more.”

Taras says its important shooters are trained to cope with other terrains. He says: “In the fields, especially in the regions like Donbas it is very plain. There is almost no forest and it’s like hundreds and thousands of meters between forces. So, if you want to be effective with your shooting, you need to learn long range shooting.”

Even though things are improving in the capital city, Taras says the gun shop has to keep a low profile as they could be a target for the Russians because they are helping supply weapons. He says: “We have to be careful and have to be kind of quiet about everything that is connected to our defence because every night there are strikes in Kiev, in Lviv, actually all over Ukraine. Cities are still being shelled almost daily and it’s nonstop.”

Taras says it’s hard for people who have lost homes. He says: “It’s not only military targets that they are pointing at. Sometimes they just they just shelling everything that they that they want to.”

He believes hunters are right to take up arms to defend their country. He rejects the idea that hunters have been criticised for using their skills to fight. He says: “If you’re thinking that hunters becoming snipers is something bad that is wrong. It’s completely different when you see what we have seen in our country, in our towns and our cities. We do not feel guilty about killing these guys because what they’re doing is unhuman, it’s really unhuman.”

Taras says the Russians are doing horrendous things. He says: “When you see it, you understand that you are no longer fighting civilized people. They are barbarians. The only way to stop them is to kill them.”

Taras says hunters make great snipers. He believes they’re heroes. He says: “There is a story about one of the hunter nicknamed Wolf. He happened to be in occupied territory. And yet he organized a few ambushes and solo missions and kill as many as 12 occupants on his own. With his shotgun, obviously his rifles. We do not know the details. This is one of the bravest men that I ever heard about. It’s one thing to fight with other guys with you in formation in some battalion. It is completely a different thing when you’re alone on occupied territory.”

Shooters such as Taras will continue their fight until their country is safe and their families can come home again. Despite the dangers they face he says hunters are proud to protect their country. He says: “Some stories will never become public because lots of people just don’t want it to become public. But personally, I know guys, not only hunters, but mainly hunters, that are very effective against the Russian occupiers. So, my feeling is it is very natural for every hunter to protect his own land, to protect his own families, to protect the way he lives.”

If you want to support Taras and other shooters in Ukraine there are two options ComeBackAlive.in.ua/donate or ArmySOS.com.ua 

Taras also has a YouTube channel 

More stories about hunting/shooting/fishing and Ukraine:
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