About 900 Ukrainian marines are returning home after being trained by British Royal Marines and Army Commandos as part of a six-month program, the United Kingdom’s defense ministry said in a statement Friday.
The training, delivered by elite British commandos, will help Ukraine develop its own distinct marine force and make it more formidable in fighting around bodies of water, the UK defense ministry said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in May that his military’s marines would become an independent military branch and that he would be expanding the new Ukrainian Marine Corps.
British Commandos trained Ukraine’s forces on amphibious operations, which included beach raids using inflatable boats, the ministry said.
“It is the first program of amphibious training delivered by the UK to Ukraine, culminating with the Ukrainian marines planning and conducting raids by both day and night,” the ministry said.
Additionally, the Ukrainian marines were trained on how to use shoulder-fired missile systems called Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, mortars and reconnaissance drones, the UK said. They also received explosive demolition training for obstacles such as Dragon’s Teeth anti-vehicle fortifications.
“Trainees came from a variety of backgrounds, with many being civilian volunteers with no prior military experience, while others have transferred from other sections within the Armed Forces of Ukraine – some having already been engaged in combat on the frontline,” the UK defense ministry said.
“The training I have received from the UK Royal Marines has been far more intense than I expected. I have learned so much and never expected to be doing the things I have done,” one of the recently trained Ukrainian marines said, according to the statement.
Each training cohort underwent “a rigorous five-week program,” with sessions ranging from battlefield first aid to close quarters combat and unit planning, according to the ministry.
More than 20,000 recruits have already received training in the UK since the start of 2022.
“At the start of 2023, the UK committed to train a further 20,000 Ukrainian recruits,” the ministry said, effectively doubling its commitment.
Instructors from the Netherlands Marine Corps were also part of the most recent training program, and other countries have also contributed to the UK program.