17,000 Ukrainian army recruits trained by UK and allies; 30K by 2024

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More than 17,000 Ukrainian recruits have been trained by Britain and other allies over the last year to help Kyiv fight Russia’s invasion, the UK Ministry of Defense said Monday.

The recruits, from many different walks of life, all went through a “gruelling” five-week program which the ministry said had transformed them “from civilians to soldiers.”

Britain and nine partner nations — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Lithuania and The Netherlands — opened the initiative for new volunteer recruits to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in June last year.

The UK-led training program dubbed Operation Interflex taught the recruits, who had little to no previous military experience, various skills including weapons handling, battlefield first aid and patrol tactics.

“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.

“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 initially offered to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in battlefield skills, based on the UK’s basic soldier training.

The program has now been extended and is on track to train some 30,000 recruits by 2024, according to the British defense ministry.

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.

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