Russian invasion: Over 32000 Ukrainians trained by UK military
Over 32000 Ukrainian civilians have undergone military training since June 2022 by the United Kingdom and its partners to equip them to defend their country…
Ukrainian soldiers undergoing training at one of the shooting ranges in a training camp in the southern part of England
ByJoshua Odeyemi who is in London
Sun, 3 Dec 2023 15:32:30 WAT
Over 32000 Ukrainian civilians have undergone military training since June 2022 by the United Kingdom and its partners to equip them to defend their country against the Russian invasion.
The governments of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Romania have been committed to this operation at several locations across the UK.
The Commander of Operation Interflex – the command responsible for the training of the Ukrainian infantry soldiers, Colonel James Thurstan, told journalists who were on a visit to one of the camps in the southern part of England that the programme is designed to equip the Ukrainians with the basics of warfare.
“The training will give volunteer recruits with little to no military experience, the skills to be effective in frontline combat.
“Based on the UK’s basic soldier training, the course covers weapon-handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict,” according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
The recruits are trained for five weeks in five different camps in the UK before returning to Ukraine for immediate deployment to the frontline.
According to Colonel Thurstan, there are some 3000 Ukrainians currently undergoing different training exercises under the Operation Interflex programme.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that started in 2014.
The invasion was the largest attack on a European country since World War II and is estimated to have caused tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands of military casualties.
By June 2022, Russian troops occupied about 20% of Ukrainian territory while about 8 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced and more than 8.2 million had fled the country by April 2023, creating Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
“The training helps them to be more lethal than their Russian counterparts. It allows them to be able to survive long enough in the conflict.
“It also gives them the defensive spirit to win the war and go ahead to establish the international boundaries,” the Operation Interflex Commander said.
Since the invasion in February 2022, the UK government has committed to supporting Ukraine and is the second largest military to donate to Ukraine, with a commitment of £2.3 billion in 2022, and a further £2.3 billion in 2023.
In October 2023, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced a major new package of equipment support for Ukraine worth over £100 million including air defence systems, crucial equipment to help Ukrainian soldiers cross minefields, and bridging capabilities to assist with river and trench crossings.