A BRITISH ARMY BASE, England (AP) – A few weeks ago, Sirhi was a business analyst at an IT company. Zakhar was a civil engineer. Now they are soldiers, training to liberate Ukraine from Russian aggression — but doing so more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away in Britain.
They are among several hundred Ukrainian recruits undergoing intense infantry training at a military base in southeast England. A batch of 10,000 Ukrainian troops that the British military has promised to train within 120 days are spending weeks learning skills including marksmanship, battlefield first aid and — crucially — For the future of your country — including civil war.
As Ukrainians practice housecleaning amid gunshots and smoke grenades falling on a mock cityscape where British soldiers once trained for operations in Northern Ireland, the Russians Think about driving soldiers off the streets of their cities.
“The most important part is urban training, because it’s the most dangerous fighting in cities,” said Sirhi, who like other Ukrainians did not want to use his full name because of security concerns. “British instructors have a lot of experience from Iraq, Afghanistan. We can adapt all this knowledge to the situation in Ukraine and use it to liberate our country from the Russian invasion.
British trainers are putting Ukrainian soldiers through a shortened version of British Army infantry training, covering weapons handling, first aid, patrol tactics and law of conflict. Its aim is to turn raw recruits into battle-ready soldiers in a matter of weeks. The first shipment arrived last month and was sent back to replenish already depleted Ukrainian units.
Major Craig Hutton, an officer in the Scots Guards, said: “We are running a basic infantry course, which takes Ukrainian recruits and teaches them to shoot well, well in any tactical environment. Teaches to move and communicate well and to medicine well.” training.
Hutton says many Ukrainian soldiers have little military experience but “are very motivated. They have a great desire to learn, and they just want to practice, practice and practice more.”
More than 1,000 UK personnel are involved in the training mission, which is taking place at four UK bases, with other countries also sending trainers, including Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the Nordic countries.
Britain is sending Ukrainians home with new uniforms, body armor, helmets and other equipment, part of 2.3 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) worth of British military aid to the country, including anti-tank missiles and advanced rockets. Launch systems are also included.
Zakhar, a former engineer, said it is difficult to stay away from Ukraine as fighting rages in the eastern Donbass region and south.
“I left my parents. I left my brothers and sisters, my relatives to gain knowledge and experience that will help me … liberate my territory from occupiers and invaders,” he said. said through a spokesperson.
Sirhi, a one-time IT worker, has been in uniform for less than a month and is just as determined.
“I know that Ukrainian soldiers are dying to protect our homes right now. So it’s hard to know that I’m not with them,” he said. “But the Ukrainian army only has professional soldiers. needed, so I’m ready to train as hard as possible to be ready for the battle ahead.”
Brigadier Justin Stenhouse, who is in charge of the training as commander of the 11th Security Assistance Brigade, said it was “humbling” to see the enthusiasm of the Ukrainians.
But he acknowledged that preparing for the chaos of urban combat is “almost impossible to do in training.” The purpose of the mission is to “train them so they can adapt to survive the early weeks of combat,” he said.
“They will learn more in the first weeks of fighting than we can give them here,” he said.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine