Chief of Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart has praised the commitment and courage of Ukrainian army recruits during a visit to a military training site in the United Kingdom.
CAPTION: New Zealand Defence Force teams training Ukrainian recruits to defend their nation. Story by Lieutenant Commander John Thompson.
Lieutenant General Stuart is in the UK for briefings with senior British Armed Forces staff and a series of meetings with other key defence partners.
He took time out to visit the facility in southern England, where up to 170 Ukrainian civilians – including taxi drivers, bricklayers, solicitors and tradesmen – aged 18-55, are preparing to defend their country.
“This visit has been immensely valuable – one can’t help but be impressed by the determination and attitude of these trainees,” Lieutenant General Stuart said.
Over five weeks, Ukrainians learn field craft and survivability, tactical exercises, range practice, first aid, and International Law of Armed Conflict under the guidance of New Zealand soldiers working with the British Army.
In January, 70 Australian Army personnel will join the operation to help deliver training as part of the UK’s commitment to train 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers.
“I’m confident that we’ll make a difference,” Lieutenant General Stuart said.
“The Ukrainians will learn from us and our experiences in the field, but, equally, we will learn from them and their experiences fighting in eastern Europe.
“It will make all of us better soldiers.”
Commander of the UK’s 5 Rifles infantry battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Kempley Buchan-Smith, said he was looking forward to welcoming the Australians.
“Having Australian soldiers here will give the Ukrainians reassurance that they are not alone,” he said.
Lieutenant General Stuart’s visit to the UK started with his attendance at the Remembrance Day service at Westminster Cathedral.
“It was an appropriate way to start this visit – remembering the lives lost fighting for freedom and democracy,” Lieutenant General Stuart said.
“I see this visit as being an important continuation of a long-standing, unique, and successful relationship we have with the United Kingdom.”