Ukraine

British troops train Ukrainian forces to operate heavy weaponry

Some of the Ukrainian troops came to train in the UK straight from the frontline of the conflict in their country.

The Royal School of Artillery has been training Ukrainian forces on how to use some of the weapons being delivered by Western allies to Ukraine's frontline to help defeat Russia.

The Ukrainian troops were given less than a day's notice that they were coming to the UK for training, with a mix of professional soldiers and mobile recruits coming straight from the frontline.

Major Paul Horne, Royal School of Artillery, told Forces News he has been "bowled over" by the manner the Ukrainian troops have approached the training.

"They are hugely enthusiastic, their desire to learn and to improve themselves has been nothing short of breathtaking."

For the last few weeks, Ukrainian personnel have been training on weapons systems including the L119 Light Gun and the Multi Launch Rocket System (MLRS) – described by Ukrainian officials as a "game-changer" in the conflict.

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The L19 Light Gun can fire 105mm shells to a distance of 11km, however, it is the Multi Launch Rocket System (MLRS), with a range of up to 85km, which could make the most difference to the outcome of a conflict which is increasingly reliant on artillery capability.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey visited the training sessions and told Forces News that the MLRS will "make a really decisive difference" when it gets to Ukraine.

He also said the Ukrainian troops were training with "the focus and the sobriety that comes with knowing… the next time you might have to do this, it will be for real and you're facing mortal danger".

"They are laser-like focused on learning the skills they need to take these weapon systems back to Ukraine and fight for their freedom," he said.

The training is a joint mission between the Royal Artillery and the New Zealand Defence Force, which has sent 30 personnel to the UK for the task.