Ukrainian troops begin training in Britain as Johnson steps up support | world news

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A small number of Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in Britain for the first time since the Russian invasion began as Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps up military support to help Ukraine fight its neighbor . Troops began training with armored patrol vehicles donated by Britain this month, Johnson’s spokesman said.

Britain is supplying Ukraine with 120 armored patrol vehicles, including the Mastiff, which can be used as a reconnaissance or patrol vehicle. used before.

“It makes sense that they receive the training required to make the best use of it,” the spokesperson said. “We are always aware of anything that is perceived as an escalation, but what is clearly an escalation are the actions of the (Vladimir) Putin regime.”

Johnson, under holiday pressure at his Downing Street residence during coronavirus lockdown restrictions, has been at the forefront of efforts to supply Ukraine with military hardware since the war began.

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The British leader has forged close ties with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking to him regularly by phone and visiting him in Kyiv.

Members of the Ukrainian government visited a military camp in April on Britain’s Salisbury Plain, where they watched demonstrations of equipment, followed by discussions on how the government can provide weapons. The British military has been training Ukrainian forces since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. They were withdrawn in February to avoid direct conflict with Russian forces and the possibility of NATO being drawn into the conflict.

Since the start of the war, Britain has supplied Ukraine with light anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, which have proven useful for Ukrainian mobile fighters to use against Russian armored vehicles.

The US military also trains Ukrainian troops in the use of howitzer artillery while Britain trains Ukrainians in Poland in the use of anti-aircraft weapons.

(Edited by William Maclean)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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Edward L. Robinett