Nearly 1,000 Ukrainian Marines are returning home after spending more than six months being trained by Royal Marines and Army Commandos, in a UK programme supported by international partners.
The UK has delivered its first programme of amphibious training to Ukraine’s forces, culminating in the Ukrainian Marines conducting beach raids using inflatable boats by day and night. This training was announced by the Prime Minister during President Zelenskyy’s visit to the UK in February, with British Commandos providing the training.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK has led the way in training the Armed Force of Ukraine, providing world-leading training in frontline combat skills to more than 20,000 of Ukraine’s Army recruits through Operation INTERFLEX.
“This programme of training, delivered by elite British commandos, will support Ukraine to build its own distinct Marine force and expand its capability to operate in a maritime environment.”
Approximately 900 Ukrainian Marines completed a comprehensive course that trained them in using Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAW) and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. They also learned how to operate mortars and drones for reconnaissance purposes, as well as how to demolish obstacles like Dragon’s Teeth anti-vehicle fortifications using explosives.
Equipment used in the training is the same as some of the military support the UK has provided to Ukraine, with more than 10,000 anti-tank weapons including thousands of NLAW systems already provided.
Instructors from 42 Commando and 47 Commando Raiding group delivered the training, alongside Army Commandos from 24 Commando Engineers and Royal Artillery Gunners from 29 Commando. Instructors from the Netherlands Marine Corps were also part of the training programme.
One of the recently trained Ukrainian Marines said: “The training I have received from the UK Royal Marines has been far more intense than I expected. I have learned so much and never expected to be doing the things I have done. All the way through, our British instructors have been beside us, showing us how to move and how to work together in a small team – this will make a difference when we return home to Ukraine.”