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, have arrived in the UK.
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 guided multiple launch rocket systems alongside non-lethal aid such as medical supplies and body armour.
We are privileged to be able to train and support our allies from the Ukrainian Armed Forces as they continue to defeat Russian aggression. The Gunners of the RAF Regiment have a huge amount of experience in training partner nations and, in particular, finding and fixing threats to airpower. We are proud to be able to share these skills and indeed learn new lessons from our Ukrainian colleagues, enabling them to protect their freedom.
Air Commodore Thompson
Force Commander, RAF Force Protection Force
The Squadron is absolutely committed to ensuring that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have the right skills to survive, fight and win against Russian aggressors. Working with the other services, the Squadron bring a wealth of operational experience born out of the specialist need to protect UK and Allied air assets and airfields and will harness this experience to provide the first-class training of the UK Forces to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Squadron Leader Smith
Officer Commanding II Squadron, RAF Regiment
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.
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 protection
- ear protectors
- pelvic protection
- 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 shelter sheets, sleeping bags, and entrenching tools have also been provided.
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.