Local man drops everything to help train Ukrainian citizens to fight the war with Russia

Kraig French is part of the Tactical Aid Group, which trains citizens for military combat

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – August 24th marked the six-month mark of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

It caused havoc in America with supply chain issues and a rapid increase in the price of gasoline.

But, overseas, a lot more damage was done.

According to the New York Times, here’s what the war has cost Ukraine and Russia…

Nearly 56 hundred Ukrainian civilians are confirmed dead, but the actual number is believed to be near ten thousand.

34 thousand soldiers between the two sides said to have been killed.

And the destruction has caused Ukraine over a hundred and ten billion dollars in damage.

While the cost of war has risen, the Ukrainian people are much better prepared.

Some of that is thanks to a Chattanoogan who dropped everything to help those in the most need.

We’ve all seen the horrifying images of the war in Ukraine.

But how many of us were spurred to action?

Kraig French, a Boston transplant to Chattanooga, literally dropped everything to go with a group of his friends to Kyiv and teach regular citizens there military combat training.

He says the urgency of the atrocities made him say he had to help, and do it now.

“When I heard what was going on, there was already people dying. There was already people being thrown to the front line with zero experience, coming back without limbs to their families. They didn’t really have a choice whether they wanted to defend their land or not. Like, it’s here. It’s happening, and it’s now.”

The group French is in is called TAG, or the Tactical Aid Group. It’s three people: himself, fellow Tennesseean Lukas Cox-Borba and Callum Ross. He says that while Ukrainians want to still resort to some sense of normalcy, they know danger is somewhere lurking, and they don’t know when it’s coming.

“If people were told to leave their house, where would you go? Where do you have? Oh, you would go to your grandparents’ house, or your mom’s house, or your dad’s house. Well, what if they needed to leave too, and you’re left with nothing? You know? If you’re living in Tennessee, you go to a neighboring state, and now that neighboring state’s being hit with artillery and you’re not safe there. Now, you need to go to another state. Now, you’re getting pushed to the borders. You’re asking for help, and it’s…It’s a lot of chaos. It’s sad. It’s really sad.”

The Tactical Aid Group is in touch with several organizations in Kyiv. French says food and munitions are there for the people to use. One of the biggest needs of the people is know how to use the weapons to defend their home and homeland.

“I can’t train one thousand people in five days. I can train ten solid, competent people in a five- to ten- to fifteen-day time frame. The basics. And, what they can do is they can go and teach ten more people. Fifteen more people. Twenty more people, and it spreads.”

French says people in the U.S. can still help the Ukrainian people.

Because of all the damage to nuclear power sites in the area, generators are valuable items.

They are costly, but French says donations specifically earmarked for generators will be an immense help.

He also can’t wait to come home.

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