As Ukrainian troops prepared for their upcoming summer counteroffensive against the advancing Russian Army, the Brits sent some of its bomb experts to teach Ukrainians to craft their own can-sized explosives capable of penetrating buildings.
In early May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the country is gearing up to reclaim its Russian-held territories. Consequently, Mr. Zelensky requested more weapons from the West to support the campaign, which he said would be their biggest yet since World War II.
This specifically handmade bomb, dubbed “secret weapon,” is capable of taking down critical infrastructures illegally occupied by Russian forces in the hot zone region of Ukraine.
In an interview with CNN, a Ukrainian soldier said they would use the can-sized explosives on high-priority targets. With the guidance of British bomb experts, Ukrainian troops will be able to produce the devices by hand directly on the battlefield and can even equip them as munition for drones.
Moreover, British experts have reportedly supplied the relevant components to craft the device, including its switches, microchips, and 3D printers. CNN added that Ukrainian troops previously used similar handmade explosives to take down several buildings in Bakhmut where Russian forces were holding out.
In situations such as these, Ukraine often finds it faster to obtain crucial supplies by leveraging the expertise of professionals entering the country rather than relying solely on its NATO trading partners.
The news that experts from Western allies are actively involved in Ukraine does not come as a shock, as leaked top-secret files in April unveiled this, where the United Kingdom is leading at the forefront, operating its special forces in Ukraine. Following suit, Latvia, France, the United States, and the Netherlands have also contributed their expertise to amplify the combat and defense capabilities of battle-scarred Kyiv.
Since the launch of the Russian invasion, many Western countries have jumped aboard the military aid train to provide Ukraine with much-needed weapons and ammunition to defend its homeland. Washington has led this collective effort, sending worth over 37.6 billion in weapons and other equipment—including the recent $300 million assistance.
Furthermore, the UK previously announced its decision to supply Ukraine with the formidable long-range Storm Shadow cruise missile. This move marks Britain as the first Western ally to provide Kyiv with such a powerful weapon, in contrast to the US, which has consistently opposed the provision of arms with similar capabilities.
Washington has been adamant in providing long-range weapons with concerns that Kyiv might use them to attack deep into the heart of Russia, thus further escalating the 15-month-old war. During an unscheduled visit to meet his British counterpart, Zelensky, the Ukrainian president personally assured that his country would not use the cruise missiles to target Moscow.
Since its delivery in early May, the Storm Shadow cruise missile has been successfully employed by Ukrainian troops against Russian targets, reported by Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov earlier this week.
🚀 Storm Shadow long-range missiles have hit 100% of the targets identified by the General Staff.
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 28, 2023
Using the same assurance, Germany has also relented and approved the transfer of its Taurus cruise missile to Ukraine.
Military aid is not only limited to transferring weaponry and ammunition but also includes training. Apart from the UK, the US military conducted necessary training to help Ukrainian soldiers repair their weapons via phone calls and video chats, which took place earlier this year, and the most recent and ongoing training to operate the M1 Abrams tanks.
Other Western allies who provided hardware support also lent a hand in training to ensure that Ukrainian troops can effectively use their new weapons.
Approaching its 16-month mark, Russia presses on raining down bomb after bomb, mainly in the eastern region of Ukraine. And the latter is gearing up to and will soon launch at any time its summer counteroffensive to take back Russian-held territories and push them off Ukrainian soil.
Ukraine had cranked up its strikes in recent weeks using the Western-lend arms, targeting not just holding outbuildings but also critical Russian infrastructures such as ammunition depots, logistical nodes, and rear-echelon installations.
Speaking at one of his regular nighttime addresses of the nation, Zelensky said earlier this week that the country already has timing in mind on when to kick off its summer campaign but did not provide further details. Among those preparations was the training with Brits bomb experts to sustain the building and other critical assaults.
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