In this center, somewhere in Poland – the location must remain secret – the French army has already trained 1,600 Ukrainian soldiers. If the war in Ukraine continues on the front, it is also being prepared on the second line, in these training centers. The majority of Ukrainian forces have not yet been launched into battle and kyiv wants to actively pursue the training and equipping of its new units.
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Urban combat training exercises
At the moment, 500 Ukrainians are supported by the French army for a four-week training. On the day’s program, a demonstration exercise by French soldiers of techniques and positions to take in urban combat. A non-commissioned officer and his men forcefully invade a false building while commenting on the operation. An interpreter provides translation for the squad of Ukrainian soldiers watching the demonstration.
In the corner of a house, Chief Warrant Officer Nicolas puts away his tools. He has just formed a Ukrainian combat group in demining in urban areas. “Concretely, it is support for contact combat. It’s really being able to continue the progression by neutralizing the traps and ammo left behind by the enemy. Many grenades, anti-personnel mines, rockets”, explains the chief warrant officer, who recognizes that his Ukrainian students “learn quickly and are highly motivated.”
“Improve performance” but also train those who have no experience
Among the Ukrainian soldiers currently being trained is Alexander, an already well-seasoned Ukrainian army officer. He and his men are here for two reasons. “Firstly, we came to look for something to improve the performance of personnel who already have combat experience. Secondly, we also come to train personnel who do not have this experience. The majority of our men here have not no combat experiencelaments the officer. That is why it is very important that they can have training here, because they are going to take part in the fighting.”
These formations are intended for formed units. These are basic techniques that are taught, but at all levels, explains Chief Warrant Officer Benoît, who supervises the training. “It’s infantry combat with different specialties: mortars, engineering, that is to say mine clearance, knowing how to detect traps and defuse them, telite irators, transmissions, drones too”, details the soldier. And to specify: “Ukrainian recruits start again at the individual level, with reflex acts, elementary acts. And the idea, in four weeks, is to manage to maneuver together the sections, the companies up to the level of the battalion.”
In addition to this training in Poland, 3,600 other Ukrainian soldiers were trained in France, on equipment such as CAESAR guns or AMX 10 light tank.