British Royal Engineers train Ukrainian soldiers in mine disposal


The British Army is actively training Ukrainian military personnel in the specialized field of mine disposal. This training is being conducted by the Royal Engineers, who are renowned for their expertise. The UK has also generously provided Ukraine with 1,500 mine detectors to aid in this effort.
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The Royal Engineers, often referred to as 'Sappers,' are playing a pivotal role in delivering essential Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training to Ukrainian soldiers (Picture source: British Army)


The Royal Engineers, often referred to as 'Sappers,' are playing a pivotal role in delivering essential Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training to Ukrainian soldiers. This training equips them with the skills necessary to neutralize landmines, explosives, and other dangerous devices currently in use within Ukraine. Mines pose a substantial challenge to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as they work to regain control of unlawfully occupied territory.

Captain Chris Wilson, commanding the EOD training from the 35 Engineer Regiment EOD&S, emphasized the importance of sharing skills developed through various deployments and incorporating feedback from Ukraine's frontlines. This approach ensures the delivery of crucial training that can save Ukrainian lives.

The success of the ongoing counter-offensive in Ukraine hinges on the nation's ability to address the mine threat comprehensively. The training program is tailored to cover munition recognition, disposal techniques, and search procedures for countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), mines, booby traps, and trip wires. It also encompasses planning and executing mine-disposal operations, including the clearance of not only open terrain but also trench systems, bunkers, and civilian structures. The final assessments involve search teams operating in complex environments under a designated commander.

Soldiers are trained to use metal detectors and personnel mine extraction kits, adapting their equipment for frontline use. They have also received instruction on equipment donated by the UK, including Vallon detectors.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps reaffirmed the UK's steadfast support for Ukraine, stressing the urgent need to address the extensive landmine and munition contamination resulting from Russia's illegal invasion. The Royal Engineers' expertise is crucial in training Ukraine's bomb disposal specialists, who can, in turn, pass on life-saving skills to their fellow recruits and contribute to a safer future for all Ukrainians.

Since the beginning of 2022, over 23,500 Ukrainian military personnel have received training in the UK, encompassing essential combat skills such as trench and urban warfare, leadership, and medical training. In early 2023, the UK pledged to train an additional 20,000 Ukrainian recruits, effectively doubling the number trained the previous year—an initiative recognized as one of the world's most extensive training programs of its kind.

In addition to combat skills, the UK has provided a comprehensive package of support, including medical training, pastoral care, spiritual support, and moral guidance.

The UK's training program for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which encompasses both Operation Interflex and the marine training program, benefits from the support of multiple nations, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden.

The UK remains fully committed to supporting Ukraine, with a substantial budget allocation of £2.3 billion for further military assistance through 2023. This support includes the provision of additional munitions and equipment in the coming months. Moreover, the UK continues to offer humanitarian aid and economic assistance to Ukraine.


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This training equips Ukrainian soldiers with the skills necessary to neutralize landmines, explosives, and other dangerous devices currently in use within Ukraine (Picture source: British Army)


Defense News September 2023