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Ukrainian Marines complete amphibious training with British Commandos

The British Ministry of Defence announced on August 11, 2023, that British Commandos have concluded the training of approximately 1,000 Ukrainian Marines as part of a six-month program. This training initiative, which represents the first instance of such cooperation between the UK and Ukraine, aimed to enhance the amphibious capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces and involved collaboration with international partners.
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British Royal Marines during an amphibious exercise in June 2023 (Picture source UK MoD)

The training program, which was initiated after an announcement during President Zelenskyy's visit to the UK in February, focused on improving the proficiency of Ukrainian forces in small boat amphibious operations, particularly beach raids facilitated by inflatable boats. The Royal Marines and Army Commandos were responsible for conducting the training, enabling Ukrainian marines to plan and execute raids under various conditions, including both daylight and nighttime scenarios.

The training curriculum covered a diverse range of skills, with almost 900 Ukrainian marines successfully completing the course. Training modules included the use of advanced equipment such as Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAW) and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. Participants were also trained in operational techniques related to mortars and reconnaissance drones, as well as tactics for dealing with obstacles like anti-vehicle fortifications.

The training program adopted an inclusive approach, accommodating civilian volunteers without prior military experience, as well as individuals transitioning from other sectors within the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This approach aimed to broaden the expertise within Ukraine's military ranks.

Beyond individual skill development, the training also aimed to promote unit cohesion and effective planning within realistic operational scenarios. This comprehensive approach is expected to contribute not only to the development of Ukraine's autonomous marine force but also to the establishment of an international training framework for marines.

Instructors from units such as 42 Commando, 47 Commando Raiding Group, 24 Commando Engineers, and Royal Artillery Gunners from 29 Commando played a crucial role in delivering the training. Additionally, support from a coalition of countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden highlighted the collaborative nature of this effort.

Since the start of 2022, more than 20,000 recruits from the Armed Forces of Ukraine have undergone specialized training in the UK, covering key frontline competencies such as trench warfare, urban combat, leadership, and medical proficiency. The UK's commitment to this training endeavor remains strong, with plans to train an additional 20,000 Ukrainian recruits in 2023, making it one of the most extensive training programs of its kind.

In addition to combat-related skills, the UK has also extended supplementary training, including medical expertise, to provide holistic support encompassing psychological well-being, spiritual guidance, and moral assistance.

Underlining the UK's dedication, a designated budget of £2.3 billion has been allocated for military support throughout 2023. Further plans involve the provision of additional munitions and equipment in the coming months, aiming to contribute to the reinforcement of Ukraine's defense capabilities.


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