The first group of new Ukrainian recruits has started to be trained into frontline soldiers by British forces across the United Kingdom, as London pledges to continue its military and financial assistance to Kiev in its war with Moscow.
Nearly five months into the Ukraine-Russia war, the recruits, operating in contingents of about 200, have been arriving from their home country to the UK on a daily basis to begin a super intensive training program offered by British soldiers.
According to a statement by the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Saturday, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace met the first cohort on Thursday.
“Using the world-class expertise of the British Army, we will help Ukraine to rebuild its forces and scale-up its resistance as they defend their country’s sovereignty and their right to choose their own future,” Wallace said, adding that the program is the next phase of the UK support for Ukraine’s military.
The ministry said the major UK-led military program would train up to 10,000 Ukrainian volunteer recruits over the coming months, adding that “the course covers weapons handling, battlefield first aid, field craft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict.”
The British government, the statement said, had quickly manufactured AK variant assault rifles for the program, meaning that Ukrainian soldiers can train on the weapons they will be using on the frontline against Russian forces. It said about 1,050 British trained troops were being deployed to carry out the program, which will take place at four undisclosed MoD bases across the northwest, southwest and southeast of the UK.
Each course, according to the ministry, will last several weeks and will be run by elements from 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade.
Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its European allies have unleashed a flood of advanced weapons into Ukraine and imposed waves of unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.
According to the MoD on Saturday, the UK has so far sent more than £2.3 billion in military aid to Kiev, including more than 5,000 NLAW anti-tank weapons and M270 multiple launch rocket systems.
“With Ukraine losing up to 200 soldiers every 24 hours in its war with Russia, the ability to generate manpower is vital. These are ‘battle casualty replacements’,” Sky News quoted an unnamed senior officer as saying.
Russia has time and again said the Western flood of weapons will not force Moscow to end the operation before achieving its objectives. The Kremlin has also warned that the unprecedented sanctions against Russia, plus the flow of arms into Ukraine, would only prolong the ongoing war.