February 28, 2015

U.K. announces package of non-lethal support to Ukraine

Training teams to help Ukraine’s armed forces

LONDON – Prime Minister David Cameron announced on February 24 that the United Kingdom will provide further non-lethal support to Ukraine by sending advisory and short-term training teams to build the capacity and resilience of its armed forces.

According to a news release posted by the Minister of Defense, as part of wider efforts to support Ukraine and ensure a robust international response to Russia’s aggression, the teams will provide medical, logistics, infantry and intelligence capacity building training from mid March.

The U.K. service personnel will be based in Ukraine delivering support and training to their counterparts. The majority of this advisory and training support will take place in Ukraine, well away from the areas affected by the conflict in the East of the country, the release noted.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“In light of continued Russian-backed aggression, the U.K. is committed to providing additional non-lethal support to Ukraine to help them deal with the pressures they are facing.

“Today’s announcement builds upon the work that we have already undertaken through NATO and bilaterally. This will help the Ukrainian armed forces develop and maintain the capacity and resilience that they need.”

The Defense Ministry outlined the support as follows.

• Medical Short-Term Training Team: We will be providing combat life support training. It is envisaged that this will include a “train the trainer” package so that Ukrainian personnel can develop the capability to train their own personnel in due course. We will be using individual first aid kits to support this training and, in due course, will seek to gift further kits to help support the ongoing Ukrainian capacity building effort.

• Logistics Short-Term Training Team: The team will help the Ukrainian armed forces understand the deficiencies within their logistics distribution system and then help to provide training and support to improve their practices and processes.

• Infantry Short-Term Training Team: A small team will travel out to identify what training requirements the Ukrainian armed forces need.

• Intelligence Capacity-Building Short-Term Training Team: The aim is to provide tactical level analysis training, which would help individuals to analyze information and from this disseminate intelligence to allow them better to understand their environment.

The Ministry of Defense explained that this support is in addition to ongoing defense engagement activities with Ukraine, which include support on crisis management, anti-corruption, defense reform and strategic communications, as well as procurement training that will be implemented in the coming weeks. Over the last year the U.K. has also provided personal protective equipment, winter fuel, medical kits, winter clothing and sleeping bags to the Ukrainian armed forces: this support totals over £1.2 million (about $1.85 million U.S.).

The U.K. policy since the start of the crisis has been to provide non-lethal assistance to Ukrainian armed forces, in line with its assessment that there must be a political solution to this crisis.

The Defense Ministry release said: “We will continue to focus on support and assistance that will reduce fatalities and casualties amongst members of the Ukrainian armed forces and build their capacity and resilience. We are also working closely with key allies through the Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and Defense Reform.”