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The first batch of up to 10,000 inexperienced Ukrainian military recruits set to train in Britain over the coming months have started drills, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Saturday.
The new British-led programme involves 1,050 UK service personnel training the Ukrainian volunteers, who have little to no military experience, at MoD sites across England for several weeks.
The crash course is based on Britain's basic soldier training, covering weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the laws around armed conflict.
It follows the UK's Operation Orbital -- prompted by Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine -- which gave 22,000 Ukrainians military training between 2015 and 2022.
"This ambitious new training programme is the next phase in the UK's support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement, after visiting the latest recruits this week.
"Using the world-class expertise of the British Army we will help Ukraine to rebuild its forces and scale-up its resistance as they defend their country's sovereignty and their right to choose their own future."
Ukraine continues to wage fierce resistance after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the latest offensive against his western neighbour in February.
Britain has proved to be one of Ukraine's staunchest allies, providing £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) in military aid, including more than 5,000 NLAW anti-tank weapons and M270 multiple launch rocket systems.
© Agence France-Presse