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Politico: Western training for Ukrainian soldiers adjusts after criticism

by Martin Fornusek November 14, 2023 9:39 AM 2 min read
Servicemen of the First Presidential National Guard Brigade of Ukraine BUREVIY (Storm) during a practical exercise at a training ground in northern Ukraine, November 3, 2023. Illustrative purpsoses only. (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Western training for Ukrainian troops began to adjust after criticism that it does not reflect the real situation on Ukraine's battlefield, Politico reported on Nov. 13, citing examples from a French training ground.

The main change is a greater emphasis on aerial threat awareness, as Kyiv's forces lack the air superiority dictated by the NATO doctrine, Politico said.

The French military said that adapting the syllabus did not require extensive changes as the program has always been flexible.

Now, drones more often fly above Ukrainian soldiers to get them used to air surveillance, and trainers use artillery and grenades to simulate air strikes.

Given the extensive real-life combat experience of Ukrainian troops, the teaching sometimes goes the other way, Politico noted.

"The program is not set in stone, we have integrated those criticisms in the training preparation, which is greenlit by the Ukrainians," said a French training officer.

The exercises also reportedly include trench warfare and preparations for harsh battlefield conditions.

In the past, Ukrainian soldiers raised concerns that Western training focuses too much on urban engagements in reflection of NATO's counter-insurgency operations in the Middle East, vastly different from the reality of the trench warfare in Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have received training in NATO countries in order to prepare them to face Russian troops. Several Western-trained and equipped brigades were deployed in the counteroffensive, which appears to be winding down after only limited territorial gains.

While acknowledging the benefits of the Western training, Ukrainian soldiers raised several points of criticism over the summer.

This concerned mainly the lack of Western militaries' experience in facing an enemy like Russia or the relatively limited scope of the training with little space given to topics like de-mining, the media reported in August.

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