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July 11, 2022

First batch of Ukrainian soldiers arrive for UK-led military programme

The training will be carried out at Ministry of Defence sites across the UK and include Ukrainian volunteer recruits.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that the first group of soldiers from Ukraine has arrived in the UK for a new military training programme with British forces.

The UK-led programme is being carried out at MoD sites across the North West, South West and South East of the country. More than 10,000 Ukrainians will undergo training to fight against Russian forces. 

More than 1,050 UK service personnel are being deployed to provide basic soldier training, including weapons handling, first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict, for the Ukrainian troops.

Ukrainian volunteer recruits with no battlefield exposure will also be included in the training programme.

Each course will be led by 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade elements and continue for several weeks.

Furthermore, Ukrainian soldiers will be trained on AK variant assault rifles, which were purchased by the UK Government for this purpose.

Ahead of the training, nearly 2,400 of these rifles were tested over 17 days by the Welsh Guards to certify their readiness. 

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “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.”

Each soldier will be provided with personal protective equipment, which includes a helmet, body armour, eye and ear protectors, pelvic protection, and a first aid kit.

Field uniforms and boots, cold and wet weather clothing, bergens, sleeping bags, and entrenching tools will also be provided to support the individuals during their training and deployment in Ukraine.

The UK previously supported Ukraine’s forces through Operation Orbital, which provided training for more than 22,000 personnel between 2015 and 2022.

As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced the 15th presidential drawdown of assistance, which is worth more than $400m, for Ukraine.

The latest package includes 1,000 rounds of 155mm artillery with more precision, four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, tactical vehicles, demolition munitions and spare parts. 

In a statement, a senior defence official said the 155mm artillery ammunition will provide Ukrainian soldiers with capabilities for specific targets as well as save ammunition.

“It’s a further evolution in our support for Ukraine in this battle in Donbas,” the official added. 

According to acting Pentagon press secretary Todd Breasseale, the US has pledged more than $9.2bn in security aid to Ukraine since 2014.

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