Russo-Ukrainian war: the United Kingdom trains Ukrainian soldiers


With martial law still in effect in Ukraine, civilian men are only allowed to travel for exceptional reasons and one was offered by the UK: its armed forces are training Ukrainian men and turning them into combat-ready soldiers.

The program turned Ukrainian lawyers, builders and even dance choreographers into soldiers after a five-week course based on British infantry training. In this case though, the average man is in his thirties and their instructors say the level of maturity and urgency they project comes from knowing what awaits them. In just days, many will leave the scenic hills of southern England for the front lines of war in eastern Ukraine, more than 3,000 km away.

« For our Ukrainian allies, there’s no more mission rehearsal, » Lt. Col. Kempley Buchan-Smith told CTV News, adding « when they leave here, they’ll have to be ready for combat. »

Some came here without ever having held a weapon. But as their country celebrates Defender’s Day on October 14, they leave as a new generation of soldiers having learned trench and urban warfare, patrol tactics, first aid on the battlefield and having spent days to fire live ammunition in a setting designed to simulate the chaos of war. .

A rookie in her 20s, now called Panda, says seeing other rookies from such different backgrounds changing their way of thinking and developing their instincts on the pitch is inspiring. “There are no air raid sirens here, no missiles flying overhead,” he says, “it means we are motivated to keep training until we are ready, » he added.

Over the past few months, the course has had to adapt to changes in the battlefield, which means moving from a defensive battle to an offensive battle.

“Rather than defending a position, remaining static in entrenched places or in houses, we look at how you attack those houses, how you attack trenches and how you fight the enemy,” Buchan-Smith explained. .

Translation in the field of training is provided by Ukrainian refugees – mostly women – who have fled the war and who believe this is the best way to help their country.

The UK has pledged to train 19,000 recruits and more than 5,700 have taken the course since June.

Under Operation Unifier, the Canadian Armed Forces trained Ukrainian military personnel in Ukraine until February, when war broke out. They have been deployed in the UK since August and will remain there until at least December.

« It’s so rewarding, so fulfilling, in light of what’s going on in Ukraine, » Maj. Mike Pal told CTV News, « it’s really good to see how important this is, » said Maj. he continued.

« It re-energizes us when we see indiscriminate killings and war crimes, » he adds.


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