nearly the previous year, Britain and other allies have trained nearly 17,000 Ukrainian recruits to assist Kiev in fighting Russia’s incursion, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The recruits, who came from a variety of backgrounds, went through a “grueling” five-week training that the ministry claimed changed them “from civilians to soldiers.”
In June of last year, the United Kingdom and nine partner countries – Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Lithuania, and the Netherlands – launched a recruitment effort for new volunteer recruits to Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
The trainees, who had little to no previous military experience, were taught diverse skills such as weapon handling, battlefield first aid, and patrol tactics as part of the UK-led Operation Interflex training program.
“The determination and resilience of the Ukrainian recruits that arrive on British soil, from all walks of life, to train to fight alongside our British and international forces, is humbling to witness,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.
“The UK and our international partners will continue to provide this vital support, helping Ukraine defend against Russian aggression, for as long as it takes.”
Britain first promised to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in fighting skills based on basic soldier training in the United Kingdom.
According to the British defense ministry, the program has already been expanded and is on target to train 30,000 recruits by 2024.
It said intelligence has shown that the training has made “a significant difference to the combat effectiveness of Ukraine”.
“The UK Armed Forces maintains close communication with Ukraine to improve and evolve the course based on the skills most needed on the battlefield,” the ministry added.