On February 24, 2022, the Russian military launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. From the first hours, Ukraine received an unprecedented wave of support from around the world.
Now, 17 months into the conflict, that wave of support continues in many different ways. A main one is the training of Ukrainian troops to fight for the liberation of their country.
There are several ongoing training programs to sustain the Ukrainian military, ranging from basic soldiering courses for raw recruits to advanced combined arms warfare simulations for battle-hardened veterans.
According to U.S. defense officials, there are more than 6,000 Ukrainian troops in training at about 40 different training locations right now. The Ukrainian troops are going through 65 different courses in 33 countries on three continents. Training and supporting Ukraine in its struggle for freedom is indeed a global effort.
The U.S. military has been leading the effort to train the Ukrainian forces in advanced warfighting, particularly combined arms warfare. If the Ukrainian military is to liberate the country and push out the Russian forces, it will need to master modern tactics and operational planning.
“Since the beginning of the war, the United States has trained over 11,000 Ukrainians in combined arms maneuver and staff training. The U.S. training effort has created 12 maneuver battalions, nearly 5,000 operators that are fighting in those machines right now, along with their combined arms staffs,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said recently to journalists.
NATO has also been playing an important role in training Ukraine’s heavy brigades that have yet to take part in the fighting in force.
On the other end, the Russian military has to contend with reservists and poorly trained troops.
The United Kingdom has also played a major role in training Ukrainian troops for combat. Soon after the Russian invasion, the British Ministry of Defense launched Operation Interflex to train batches of Ukrainian volunteers in basic soldiering tasks.
The British-led training lasts about five weeks and goes over marksmanship, fieldcraft, small unit tactics, and first aid, among other tasks.
Marking the one-year anniversary of Operation Interflex, the British Ministry of Defense acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances that have led so many ordinary Ukrainians to the fields and forests of the United Kingdom.
“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 Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.
As of early May, the British Military had trained more than 14,000 Ukrainian recruits in basic soldering tasks.
“The U.K. and our international partners will continue to provide this vital support, helping Ukraine defend against Russian aggression, for as long as it takes,” Wallace added.
The U.K. continues to train Ukrainian volunteers, who then either go to serve on the frontlines or receive additional training.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.