Operation Interflex: UK-led Coalition Trained 32,000 Ukrainian Recruits to Repel Russian Invasion

Operation Interflex: UK-led Coalition Trained 32,000 Ukrainian Recruits to Repel Russian Invasion

*Says war will stop if Russia withdraws troops from Ukraine

Chiemelie Ezeobi in England

Since June 2022, over 32,000 Ukrainian recruits have undergone military training under Operation Interflex, the United Kingdom government-led coalition to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, the Director General, Russia-Ukraine Cabinet Office, Nick Catsaras, has said.

With 11 partner nations like United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Romania, Operation Interflex was tailored to train Ukrainian recruits by providing them basic infantry training skills to be deployed on the front lines.
The five-week course that runs the gamut of basic infantry programme  covers weapon-handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics, the Law of Armed Conflict and other skills needed to be effective in frontline combat.

In a briefing at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) House in London, Catsaras, said the West has no choice but to out wait President Vladimir Putin in the invasion because the alternative whereby Russia wins wasn’t an option.
“This war is one with global consequences. Clearly, the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a tragedy for Ukraine and a threat to security but the effects of this war are felt round the world in terms of food, energy prices and increased inflation.

“We are clear that Russia could end this war by withdrawing its troops now. However, there is no sign  Putin is giving up on subjugating Ukraine and he is doing that despite the high cost to Russia in terms of the huge number of casualties that he is suffering and loss of equipment and the long term damage that is being done to Russia’s economy.

“You can feel the resolve on the part of Ukraine to defend and restore its territorial integrity. The allies, especially the UK is committed to support for Ukraine as long as it takes. Our Prime Minister (Rishi Sunak), and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just spoke again this morning about our support,” he said.
Afterwards, at the command centre of Operation Interflex in the South of England, the commander responsible for the training of the Ukrainian infantry soldiers, Col. James Thurstan, said the programme was designed to equip the Ukrainian recruits with the basics of warfare.

With Operation Interflex as the largest per capita contributor to training support for Ukraine, he said the mission focuses on the delivery of lethal and survivable soldiers equipped with the offensive spirit required to win at the battlefield of Ukraine.
He said: “The training will give volunteer recruits with little to no military experience the skills to be effective in frontline combat. The training helps them to be more lethal than their Russian counterparts.
“It allows them to be able to survive long enough in the conflict. It also gives them the defensive spirit to win the war and go ahead to establish the international boundaries.”

Since the war started, the UK government has been the second largest military to donate to Ukraine, with a commitment of £2.3 billion in 2022, and a further £2.3 billion in 2023.
In October 2023, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced a major new package of equipment support for Ukraine worth over £100 million, including air defence systems, crucial equipment to help Ukrainian soldiers cross minefields, and bridging capabilities to assist with river and trench crossings.
Meanwhile, the UK has a long history of supporting Ukrainian service personnel through Operation ORBITAL, which trained 22,000 Ukrainians between 2015 and 2022.

The programme builds on this success and demonstrates the UK’s continued leadership in responding to Ukraine’s military requirements as the war evolves.
Although the Ukrainian invasion started in 2014 with attempts by Russia to annex some parts of Ukraine, the escalation occurred in February 2022, when Russia moved 100,000 troops to invade Ukraine in an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War.
Already, the war has claimed tens of thousands of civilian casualties and thousands of military casualties.
Also, with about 8 million Ukrainians internally displaced with some fleeing the war-torn country, this has created Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.

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