How Will Russia Respond to NATO Countries Training Ukrainian Soldiers? – The Kremlin has repeatedly warned NATO countries against “interference” in the war with Ukraine and has indicated on more than one occasion that the West is already engaged in war with Russia – whether in economic terms or with regard to the constant flow of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine.
Ongoing training of Ukrainian soldiers in Poland, and potentially other parts of Europe, could become the next sticking point and a cause for escalation by the Russian side.
More Training Will Be Required as Soviet-made Weapons Run Out
As Soviet-era weapons become increasingly difficult for NATO countries to procure, Western military aid packages will begin to include greater numbers of U.S. and NATO weapons. As that happens, Ukrainian soldiers will require greater levels of training to ensure that they understand how to use the weapons they receive.
American-made Javelin missiles, over 7,000 of which have been gifted to Ukraine by the United States so far, are operable by Ukrainian soldiers thanks to ongoing training on the Polish-Ukrainian border. Ukrainian soldiers who were present in the United States before the outbreak of the war were also given extensive training on how to use American weapons before returning to Ukraine to train other soldiers.
Are Western Leaders Tempting Fate By Admitting to Training Soldiers?
The former head of the Polish army General Waldemar Skrzypczak said this week that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “tempting evil” and revealing too much information about Western efforts to train Ukrainian soldiers on the Polish-Ukrainian border.
In an interview with Polish tabloid newspaper Fakt, Skrzypczak said that the British Prime Minister had revealed what should have been a “military secret” when he publicly announced during a visit to India last week that Ukrainian troops were being trained to use British anti-aircraft missiles.
“Military training is a matter of the army, in such a situation secret. Let a man restrain himself and think before he says such things,” the Polish military official said.
“The prime minister may not be aware of it, but with such statements he puts the success of the entire military operation at risk, as well as the safety of the soldiers…such statements are tempting evil,” he added.
While British troops train Ukrainian military personnel in Poland to use the Starstreak air defense missile systems, the U.S. military is also stepping up training programs focused on the American howitzers delivered as part of the latest round of security aid.
Whether Russia will consider the latest training efforts by NATO countries to be an escalation is yet to be seen.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.