The UK-based training scheme comes after Sweden gave up centuries of neutrality by applying to join NATO
Swedish instructors will train Ukrainian civilians in the UK to prepare them for military service in kyiv, the Nordic Defense Ministry announced on Sunday. While the British hope to prepare 10,000 Ukrainians for combat, the announcement suggests that conventional forces in kyiv are exhausted.
The Swedish Armed Forces will send up to 120 instructors to the UK between August 12 and December 31, Stockholm has announced. The instructors will “to conduct basic military training for Ukrainian citizens, divided into several training courses”, the statement continued.
The training program was announced by Britain last month. While Downing Street said the courses would be “Train and train the Ukrainian Armed Forces using the battle-proven experience of the British Army”, those who are trained are all new recruits.
“These guys are all civilians” sergeant. Dan Hayes, a British instructor, told The Times in mid-July. “These guys were truck drivers or they worked in quarries or they were traders.”
Sweden’s statement stated that those trained would receive “basic military training to enable them to serve in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
“The objective is to enable Ukraine to maintain and strengthen its defense capabilities”, statement explained.
The existence of the training program suggests that Ukraine is in dire need of manpower. Although Kyiv does not publish casualty figures, Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, told the BBC in June that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 troops a day, not including wounded. Around the same time, Zelensky said that 60 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers were killed daily in the Donbass, and another 500 were injured.
Zelensky has since claimed that his armed forces had slowed their casualties, with around 30 men killed every day by the end of July. Russia does not issue regular updates on Ukraine’s losses, but claimed in early July that kyiv had lost nearly 5,500 troops in the previous two weeks, including more than 2,000 killed.
As for its own casualties, Moscow has not updated the numbers since March, when it reported 1,351 servicemen killed and 3,825 wounded.
The fighting in the Donbass – where Ukrainian troops face a numerically superior and better equipped Russian army – is “hell,” Zelensky said last week. Despite having Western weapons at their disposal, the Ukrainian troops were “unable to break the advantage of the Russian army”, said the president, as Ukrainian journalists described the battlefield near Donetsk as a “senseless meat grinder, where a large number of our infantry are chewed up in one day.”
Britain hopes to train around 10,000 Ukrainians every 120 days to make up for these losses. Sweden’s involvement in the program is notable, as the Nordic nation broke with more than 200 years of neutrality and non-alignment in May when it applied to join the NATO alliance with Finland.
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