Ukraine’s deputy defence minister has met sailors being trained off the coast of Scotland and soldiers training in England as part of UK support for his country in its war against Russia.
Volodymyr Havrylov met with UK armed forces minister James Heappey and visited parliamentarians to discuss what further support is needed to meet the needs of Ukraine’s armed forces.
Both ministers travelled to Scotland on Thursday, where Ukrainian sailors are being trained by the Royal Navy to operate Sandown Class Minehunter vessels, although the location is not being revealed for security reasons.
They spoke with trainees and Royal Navy instructors and watched them practising key skills at sea, such as weapon drills and damage control, while learning to operate the machinery on the vessels.
It comes ahead of the sale of two such vessels in a deal agreed last year under the Ukrainian Naval Capabilities Enhancement Programme (UNCEP).
Mr Heappey said: “The intensity with which the Ukrainian soldiers and sailors are training is something to behold. They work with the focus of troops who know they’ll be fighting in a war in just a few short weeks’ time.
“Delivering training that matches that intensity and focus is not straightforward.
“The Royal Navy and the British Army are working long hours and drawing on all their operational experience to make sure their new Ukrainian friends are sent into combat with the best chance of victory.”
The ministers also watched Ukrainian infantry training on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in essential battle-winning skills in a major new UK-led military programme.
More than 1,000 UK service personnel are involved in the programme, which is taking place at military sites across the north-west, south-west and south-east of the UK.
Each course will last several weeks and will give volunteer recruits with limited military experience the skills to be effective in frontline combat.
Based on the UK’s basic soldier training, the course covers weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict.
Mr Havrylov said: “I saw the brotherhood of Ukrainian and British soldiers working together to achieve a common goal – strengthening the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian army.
“We are very grateful to the Government and people of the United Kingdom for their invaluable contribution to Ukraine’s success in repelling the Russian aggressors.”
The UK has provided military equipment to Ukraine and has launched a scheme to train 10,000 Ukrainian personnel.