Royal Engineers are delivering world-leading training to Ukraine's combat engineers in Poland, with 1,500 mine detectors having been provided to Ukraine by the UK.
The Royal Engineer soldiers, or 'Sappers' as they are better known, have delivered crucial Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training to Ukrainian soldiers to disable mines, munitions and other explosive devices that are being used in Ukraine.
They are currently one of the biggest threats to the safety of civilians in the country. While mines present one of the biggest obstacles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as they seek to re-take illegally occupied land.
Teaching vital training which will save Ukrainian lives Captain Chris Wilson
Captain Chris Wilson, from 35 Engineer Regiment EOD&S, who is commanding the EOD training, said:
“We are teaching Ukrainian Sappers skills we developed during various deployments, as well as evolving our own techniques based on feedback from Ukraine’s frontline, in order to deliver vital training which will save Ukrainian lives.”
It is critical to the success of the ongoing counter-offensive that Ukraine has the resources to deal with mines; this thorough a tailored training package which teaches soldiers munition recognition, disposal methods and search procedures to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), mines, booby traps and trip wires.
Training includes how to conduct a threat brief, plan mine-disposal operations, and practical lessons on how to clear not only vast swathes of land, but also trench systems, bunkers, and civilian buildings. Final assessments involve search teams covering a complex area with a designated commander.
Soldiers use metal detectors and personnel mine extraction kits and are taught how to adapt the equipment they have available on the front line. They have also been trained on equipment donated by the UK, including Vallon detectors.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Our support for Ukraine is unwavering and I want to be clear that we will continue to support Ukraine to ensure they win this war and reclaim their sovereignty."
"Putin’s illegal invasion has left Ukraine’s fields and towns covered in deadly landmines and unexploded munitions, which presents an immediate danger to its citizens now, and for years to come."
"The Royal Engineers are using their world-leading experience to train Ukraine’s bomb disposal experts, who can pass on these lifesaving skills to their own recruits and ensure a safer future for all Ukrainians.”
More than 23,500 recruits from the Armed Forces of Ukraine have already received training in the UK since the start of 2022, learning essential frontline skills including trench and urban warfare, leadership, and medical training.
At the start of 2023, the UK committed to train a further 20,000 Ukrainian recruits – approximately double the amount trained last year – under one of the largest training programmes of its kind in the world.
Beyond teaching combat skills to recruits, the UK has provided a broad package of other skills including medical training to provide pastoral care, spiritual support, and moral guidance.
Including both the Operation Interflex and the programme for marines, the UK’s training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine is supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden.
The UK remains fully committed to supporting Ukraine, with a further £2.3bn already earmarked for further military support through 2023, with additional munitions and equipment to be delivered in the coming months. Further UK government assistance continues in the form of humanitarian support and economic aid.
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