Military Training for Ukraine Achieves Key Milestones Amid Shifting Global Focus to Gaza

by Ryan Lee
Ukraine Military Training

Amid the echo of simulated gunfire and battle shouts, Ukrainian soldiers navigate through trenches and bunkers, encountering stark, staged scenes of carnage. Shouts in Ukrainian, like “Grenade!” and urgent calls to action, fill the air.

This scene, however, is a training exercise. The ammunition is non-lethal, and the ‘enemy’ troops are French soldiers, tasked not with combat, but with transforming these Ukrainian fighters into more effective and deadly soldiers.

This training in France marks a crucial preparation stage for these Ukrainian soldiers. They will soon face the harsh realities of frontline combat against Russian forces when they return home.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine persists into its second year, resulting in staggering casualties on both sides, the support in military training from allied nations has become a vital element in sustaining Ukraine’s resistance and bolstering its chances for success. Amidst global attention shifting to the conflict in Gaza, the ongoing training of Ukrainian forces symbolizes the sustained commitment of its allies.

France, as part of the European Union’s military assistance mission initiated a year ago, is on track to train 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers this year, both in Poland and at French bases. The French military recently allowed The Big Big News access to one of these training bases in rural France, showcasing the intense training regimen of Ukrainian infantry.

The EU mission, initially aiming to train 15,000 soldiers, has significantly surpassed this goal, now expecting to train 35,000 by year-end. This expansive training effort involves almost all EU member countries and Norway, offering a variety of courses and instruction.

The U.S. has also contributed significantly, training approximately 18,000 Ukrainian soldiers, primarily in Germany, with plans to train more. Additionally, the U.K. has trained 30,000 soldiers in the last 17 months, marking an unprecedented effort since World War II.

The training encompasses basic military skills, advanced tactics, and specialized knowledge, including mine clearance, amphibious operations, equipment maintenance, officer training, and support for military chaplains.

At the French training base, the imminent return to Ukraine casts a somber reality over the trainees. Once civilians, these men now exhibit the demeanor and solidarity of soldiers, evident in their serious expressions and the camaraderie that has developed among them.

In a unique approach, French instructors have incorporated realistic elements, such as animal remains, in training environments to acclimate the soldiers to the brutality of war. According to Lt. Col. Even, the chief French training officer, Ukraine seeks French expertise in tactics to overcome Russian defenses.

Reporters from The Big Big News also observed Ukrainian soldiers defending a simulated village and camouflaging in wet woodlands during training exercises. Language barriers were bridged by translators.

French trainers maintain professional boundaries with the trainees, recognizing the harsh reality that many may not survive upon returning to Ukraine. This emotional detachment is crucial for the trainers to focus on their mission without personal implications.

Capt. Xavier, one of the instructors, emphasized the importance of this detachment, acknowledging the emotional toll of learning about trainees’ deaths in combat. Their focus remains on providing the best training possible, without dwelling on the potential outcomes.

Contributions to this report were made by Hanna Arhirova in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine Military Training

What is the main focus of the military training efforts for Ukraine?

The main focus of the military training efforts for Ukraine is to prepare Ukrainian soldiers for effective combat against Russian forces. This involves comprehensive training in tactics, weaponry, battlefield first aid, and specialized military skills provided by allied nations, particularly France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

How is the global attention shift to Gaza impacting Ukraine’s military training?

Despite the shift in global attention to the conflict in Gaza, the military training efforts for Ukraine continue unabated. Allies remain committed to training Ukrainian forces, indicating a sustained support system and the prioritization of Ukraine’s defense capabilities amidst ongoing geopolitical shifts.

What are the training achievements of France, the United States, and the United Kingdom in supporting Ukraine?

France aims to train 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers this year as part of an EU mission, exceeding initial goals. The United States has trained about 18,000 Ukrainian soldiers, mostly in Germany, with more planned. The United Kingdom has conducted training for 30,000 soldiers over the past 17 months, marking a significant training effort since World War II.

What types of training are Ukrainian soldiers receiving?

Ukrainian soldiers are receiving a broad range of training, including basic military skills, advanced combat tactics, battlefield first aid, mine clearance, amphibious operations, equipment maintenance, officer training, and even support for military chaplains.

How are French instructors preparing Ukrainian soldiers for the realities of war?

French instructors are using realistic training methods, including setting up staged scenes of battlefield carnage and incorporating animal remains to acclimate soldiers to the brutality of war. This approach is intended to mentally and physically prepare the soldiers for the harsh realities they will face on the front lines against Russian forces.

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Tom R. November 13, 2023 - 1:08 pm

not bad, but some more on Russia’s perspective would’ve been nice. It’s always two sides to a story, right? But, the details on training and those numbers, wow, didn’t know it was that extensive.

Jenny B. November 13, 2023 - 2:02 pm

hey, this is a really detailed piece! I liked how it covers the training of Ukranian soldiers. its good to see countries like France, the US, and UK stepping up to help, especially with Russia still in the picture. keep up the great work!

Sarah K. November 13, 2023 - 10:50 pm

I’m impressed with the depth of coverage here, really paints a picture of what’s going on with Ukraine and the support they’re getting. The part about the French training methods was intense, using animal remains? that’s some serious stuff.

Mike O’Connor November 14, 2023 - 3:41 am

Great article but kind of long. could’ve been shorter but still, the info on military training is on point. The UK’s effort since WWII, that’s something huh?


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