Ukrainians in the UK
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed that dozens of Ukrainian soldiers in the UK are being trained in the use of some 120 British armored vehicles before returning with them to fight in the war against Russia.
The Brits are also training Ukrainian troops in Poland to use Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles. During a recent trip to India, the British Prime Minister said:
“I can say that we are currently training Ukrainians in Poland in the use of anti-aircraft defence, and actually in the UK in the use of armoured vehicles.”
Johnson’s spokesperson told reporters:
“We are moving, in conjunction with our allies, to [provide] new types of equipment that perhaps the Ukrainians wouldn’t have had previous experience of, so it’s only sensible that they get the requisite training to make the best use of it,”
This week, the Pentagon said it would train some Ukrainians to use a batch of 18 US howitzers “outside the country” before the weapons could be used on the battlefield.
This is getting to be a definite trend. As more and more western countries supply weapons to Ukraine, these short “train up” periods are likely to become more common.
Some say that the practice is yet another step toward greater western involvement in the war.
However, British government officials insisted that training Ukrainians in the UK was not escalatory. “What is escalatory is the actions of Putin and his regime in Ukraine. We are simply working together with our allies to give Ukraine the best tools to defend themselves,” he said.
Anticipation of a Protracted Conflict
With Russia concentrating its troops in the Donbas region, Moscow has almost a three-to-one advantage over the Ukrainian defenders. Because of this, both the US and UK are preparing for the possibility of having to send arms to Ukraine for a long time. Meanwhile, European countries such as the Czech Republic have supplied Soviet-designed tanks similar to those already used by Kyiv. So at this point, there seems to be no shortage of nations willing to help Ukraine defend itself.
So, What Exactly Is the UK Sending?
They’ll be sending at least 120 armored vehicles, as mentioned above. Eighty of those are the Mastiff and Wolfhound “protected mobility vehicles.” The British Army says these will be used in combat, combat support, and combat service roles, moving troops around the battlefield.
The other forty vehicles are for combat reconnaissance. These include the Spartan, which can carry four soldiers plus a crew of three. Other vehicles of this type are Samaritan ambulances, Sultan armored command vehicles, and Samson armored recovery vehicles. British defense sources say that getting troops up to speed in these vehicles will take a few weeks.
In Poland, British forces are training the Ukrainians on using the Starstreak air defense missile system and the Stormer vehicles from which they are launched.
It makes sense; when you get new equipment, you have to take the time to learn how to use it. Johnson’s spokesperson agrees, saying:
“We are moving, in conjunction with our allies, to providing new types of equipment that perhaps the Ukrainians wouldn’t have had previous experience of, so it’s only sensible that they get the requisite training to make the best use of it.”
Keep your eyes open in the upcoming weeks for more western nations sending more weapons systems as the war continues.