Training underway for first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers taking part in UK-led military programme

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The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace visited the first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers taking part in a major new UK-led military programme which will train up to 10,000 Ukrainians over the coming months. Photographer: Matt Allen - UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Training is well underway for the first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers taking part in a major new UK-led military programme across the UK, which will see up to 10,000 Ukrainians trained by the British Army over the coming months.

The programme is part of the UK’s enduring commitment to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s unprovoked invasion, which so far amounts to more than £2.3 billion in military aid and includes more than 5,000 NLAW anti-tank weapons and M270 multiple launch rocket systems.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who visited the training said:

“This ambitious new training programme is the next phase in the UK’s support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression.

“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.”

Image of Ukrainian soldiers seen here receiving training from 3 RIFLES at a training facility in the UK. Photographer: Sgt Ben Maher ©MoD Crown Copyright 2022

Around 1050 UK service personnel are deploying to run the programme, which will take place at MOD sites across the Northwest, Southwest and Southeast of the UK. Each course will last several weeks and will be conducted by elements from 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade.

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 weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict.

The Government has rapidly procured AK variant assault rifles for the training programme, meaning Ukrainian soldiers can train on the weapons they will be using on the front line. This effort was supported by the Welsh Guards, who tested more than 2,400 such rifles in 17 days to ensure they were ready for the Ukrainians to commence their training.

Image of Ukrainian soldiers, seen here receiving training from British troops in the UK. Photographer: Edward Low ©MoD Crown Copyright 2022

The UK has also gifted clothing and equipment to support Ukrainian soldiers in their training and deployment back to Ukraine. Each soldier will be issued with:

  • Personal protective equipment including helmets, body armour, eye protectors, ear protectors, pelvic protection, and individual first aid kits
  • Field uniforms and boots
  • Cold and wet weather clothing
  • Bergens, day sacks and webbing
  • Additional equipment required for field conditions including ponchos, sleeping bags, and entrenching tools

The UK has a long history of supporting Ukrainian service personnel through Operation ORBITAL, which trained 22,000 Ukrainians between 2015 and 2022. The new programme will build on this success and demonstrates the UK’s continued leadership in responding to Ukraine’s military requirements as the war evolves.

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