UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed the country’s commitment to extend its military training operation in Ukraine for an additional two years.
Delivered through Operation Orbital, the military training operation in Ukraine will continue until 2020 and would include anti-armour, counter-sniping and mortar planning.
The current training expansion is in addition to the defensive skills programmes, such as the identification of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), infantry skills, medical care and logistics, which the UK military personnel have been providing to Ukraine since early 2015.
Williamson said: “I witnessed first-hand the suffering caused by the brutal conflict in eastern Ukraine – a conflict that is being prolonged by the Russian-backed separatists.
“By extending and expanding our training programmes, we are sending a clear message – we support the people of Ukraine and are firmly committed to its sovereignty as it faces down blatant Russian aggression.”
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Furthermore, Williamson reaffirmed the expansion of the UK Defence Section in Kyiv and the introduction of a new and permanent Naval Attaché that would help develop and advance the naval capability in Ukraine.
Since the beginning of Operation Orbital in 2015, UK personnel have trained more than 9,500 soldiers deployed with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Over the coming year, the UK intends to expand its growth in joint training activity with the Canadian allies.
In addition, the country will support the various initiatives between UK personnel and other countries, which are also committed to support Ukraine.