Diggers train first Ukrainian recruits

6 February 2023

The Australian contingent deployed on Operation Kudu has taken responsibility for its first company of Ukrainian recruits, as part of the UK-led and based training program.

The contingent of up to 70 soldiers, mostly from the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, is providing critical training to recruits of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) to support their national defence following Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion.

The Ukrainian company of nearly 200 recruits received a week of foundation training from the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards.

Remaining training will be conducted by the Australian soldiers.

Officer Commanding the Australian contingent, Major Greg Sargeant, said the Ukrainian recruits had the advantage of diverse backgrounds.

“There is a broad range of prior experiences, military skills and ages within the company of recruits we’re training,” Major Sargeant said.

“Some of these recruits are university-qualified; some were mechanics, farmers, hairdressers or lawyers before the conflict.

“For some, it’s their first time handling a weapon. Others have previous military experience or have recently experienced front-line combat as a result of this current conflict.

“It’s our responsibility that, regardless of background, all the recruits in our company come out with the same basic military tactics and skills to adequately defend themselves, their mates and their sovereignty.”

Already through their first introduction-to-field exercise with the Irish Guards, the recruits are advancing their training in both urban and wooded environments. The next focus will be on tactical care of combat casualties, mine recognition and further field exercises.

“The speed at which the company have learned is a testament to the initial instruction provided by the Irish Guards,” Major Sargeant said.

“The dedication of the recruits, and their steadfast desire to keep practising, learning and perfecting their skills is a testament to the determination of the Ukrainian soldiers.”

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