Wednesday, September 28

Ukrainian soldiers begin training in the UK

Ukrainian soldiers on the Donbas front / ef

A group of 1,500 soldiers receives training in combat tactics and the handling of state-of-the-art weapons in Wiltshire County in a “new phase” of British aid to kyiv

With Boris Johnson in the final stretch of his mandate defeated by scandals, his will as the most belligerent European leader against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine continues to be applied to the letter. The 11th Security Assistance Brigade of the British Army has received more than 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers whom it has begun to instruct in the handling of weapons, combat tactics and surveillance strategies, according to the Ministry of Defense. The troops are already distributed in training camps through which 10,000 soldiers will pass in the coming months. Through this program, the governments of London and kyiv hope to increase the ground offensive capacity of the Ukrainian troops, who in the last three weeks have ceded a substantial part of Donbas to the Russian war machine.

The power that the invaders did not show at the beginning of the war has now become a wall that is difficult to break. The bombings have been incessant this past dawn. In just 24 hours, Russia has attacked 177 Ukrainian positions. The explosions have caused the death of at least six civilians (other sources put the tragedy at ten dead and twenty wounded) in the cities of Kharkov, Bakhmout, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Everything points to the Kremlin preparing a large-scale offensive. Local authorities, in fact, have asked the population living in the main cities of Donetsk to evacuate because “big battles” are coming.

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The General Staff has confirmed the British Intelligence reports according to which the Russian Army “is regrouping, or rather reconstituted” to attack the areas of the region that it does not yet control. Military sources observe in this movement the end of the “pause” that President Vladimir Putin ordered his military after the definitive seizure of the neighboring province of Lugantsk in order to “rest and recover” for the following battles.

British Intelligence assures, however, that these troops are being equipped with mediocre and even obsolete war material, which would point in two directions: either Moscow considers that at this stage of the invasion it will not encounter as much resistance as in the last four and a half months and has decided to reserve what remains of the most modern and expensive arsenal, or has already exhausted this equipment and is forced to resort to other old ones. Numerous analysts agree on this line, seeing in the brutal bombings of residential areas or the destroyed shopping center in Kremenchuk a sign that Russian aviation is using old and imprecise missiles.

In Ukraine, the situation of its arsenals does not look good either. Ukraine’s dependence on foreign weapons is total. The Zelensky government has reiterated messages to the international community to be supplied. In addition to the lack of ammunition, the Kremlin has fine-tuned selective attacks against imported bombs. This morning he has confirmed that his missiles have destroyed a hangar where American M-777 155mm howitzers were stored in the town of Chasuv Yar and eliminated several Ukrainian batteries, killing all thirty of his operators.

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In that sense, kyiv has welcomed with a sigh of relief the Pentagon’s announcement that new US military aid is on the way. Washington, which has invested 6.9 billion dollars in this war, will supply the Ukrainian forces in the coming days with four Himars multiple rocket launcher systems and 155-millimeter missiles like those destroyed in Chasuv Yar. With them, the Ministry of Defense hopes to increase the fire capacity and, above all, the precision of its cannons to attack Russian positions.

The UK is also a strong donor to the Zelensky government. In total, the British Executive has allocated 2,668 million euros in military equipment, a package to which is now added the training on British soil of the Ukrainian military. “There are already more than 1,500 soldiers in the UK. They arrive every week, in planes that carry between 100 and 200 people at a time. Soon, they will have trained 10,000 of our soldiers,” Ukraine’s ambassador in London, Vadym Prystaiko, told the Ukrinform agency.

The main training center is in the county of Wiltshire, in the south-west of the country. The program includes learning the use of certain next-generation short arms and, above all, the MLRS long-range rocket launch systems. These missiles have generated a strong controversy between Western governments and Moscow, since they are capable of hitting targets eighty kilometers away and, therefore, serve in an offensive within Russian territory. kyiv has promised the United States and the United Kingdom that it will use them only within the Ukraine war zone. The British supervisors, who have been joined by several New Zealand commanders, have highlighted in statements to the BBC the “enthusiasm” of the Ukrainian soldiers. “They hardly rest. They work and work and work.”

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Defense Minister Ben Wallace has confirmed that the training constitutes the “new phase” of UK support for Ukraine. “Using the worldwide experience of the British Army we will help rebuild their forces and increase their resilience while defending their country’s sovereignty and their right to choose their future,” Wallace said.

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