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Royal Navy training Ukraine sailors as part of UK's support to country

22 July 2022
Royal Navy sailors are training Ukraine’s Navy as part of the UK’s on-going support to the country.

Eighty Ukrainian personnel are receiving comprehensive, expert instruction from Royal Navy minehunting crews amid the conflict with Russia.

Two Sandown-class minehunters – no longer needed by the Royal Navy as it introduces new automated mine warfare systems – are due to be sold to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Volodymyr Havrylov met with UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey and parliamentarians in London before visiting soldiers and sailors training in Scotland.

The ministers spoke with trainees and the Royal Navy instructors, observing them practising key skills at sea, such as weapon drills and damage control, while learning to operate the machinery on the vessels.

Mr Heappey said: “The intensity with which the Ukrainian soldiers and sailors are training is something to behold. They work with the focus of troops who know they’ll be fighting in a war in just a few short weeks’ time.

“Delivering training that matches that intensity and focus is not straightforward. The Royal Navy and the British Army are working long hours and drawing on all their operational experience to make sure their new Ukrainian friends are sent into combat with the best chance of victory.”

Delivering training that matches that intensity and focus is not straightforward. The Royal Navy and the British Army are working long hours and drawing on all their operational experience to make sure their new Ukrainian friends are sent into combat with the best chance of victory.

UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey

The Sandown-class minehunters, which were introduced into the Royal Navy in the late 80s and continue to serve daily around the UK, northern Europe and the Gulf, specialise in finding – and neutralising – mines in deep waters. Each ship is crewed by around 40 men and women.

The training, which began in May, varies from two weeks to several months depending on the subject being taught.

The Royal Navy’s involvement in the training is part of a major new UK-led military programme.

More than 1,000 UK service personnel are involved at military sites across the North West, South West and South East of the UK. The training will give volunteer recruits with limited military experience the skills to be effective in frontline combat.

Based on the UK’s basic soldier training, the course covers weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict.

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