Ukrainians undergo basic military training in the UK

Gunshots ring out as Ukrainian soldiers fire in the distance. But there are no enemies here. This is not Ukraine, but the south of England.

Ukrainian recruits, all from civilian life, undergo a five-week training course.

Based on basic UK soldier training, the course covers weapons handling, battlefield first aid, field craft, patrol tactics and the law of armed conflict.

The recruits, all from civilian life, ranging from engineers to dentists to a dance choreographer, have little or no combat experience.

But they all hope that when they return home they will have the skills to help defend their country.

This recruit, an engineer with a nom de guerre “Panda”, said he would soon be using his new skills on the battlefield.

“I will take all these skills and knowledge that I learned here and bring them back to Ukraine on the battlefield and I will show there what I have learned,” he said.

The UK has offered to train 19,000 Ukrainian staff and more than 5,700 have already completed the training and returned to Ukraine since the training began in June.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kempley Buchan-Smith, commander of the 5th Rifles, praised the motivation and professionalism of the recruits:

“They absolutely know that when they leave here, they will be back on the front lines, so they are eager to learn as much as they can. So when they come back to Ukraine, they are as lethal and ready to fight as they are. possible,” he said.

Buchan-Smith added that training has become more attacking than defensive since Ukraine began to win back more territory in the east.

Countries like Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Latvia are all participating in the training program.

Each recruit will return with personal protective equipment as well as clothing and backpacks.

This one-to-one five-week course ends this week and recruits like “Panda” are eager to return to Ukraine.

“I’m going to ask my higher commands where I’m going next and I want to get back as soon as possible from the UK where I’ve had a lot of battlefield training and then I’m going to go into the battlefield” , did he declare.

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Christi C. Elwood