British SAS operators are training Ukrainian Armed Forces in anti-tank warfare and for the first time on the ground in Ukraine since Ukraine War began. It has been reported that they have been deployed to train Ukrainian soldiers in Kyiv to use NLAW anti-tank missile launchers.
Since the Ukraine War began, it is the first time that British or any other NATO forces have instructed their Ukrainian counterparts on Ukrainian soil. Two Ukrainian Armed Forces officers from separate battalions stationed in and around the country’s capital told The Times that British Special Air Service operators had trained their troops on two occasions over the last fortnight.
A Ukrainian Captain Yuriy Myronenko said that British special forces had come to instruct a battalion in Obolon, on the northern outskirts of Kyiv, on the use of British-supplied anti-tank missiles that were delivered in Febr. He said military trainers had come to instruct new and returning military recruits to use NLAWs.
The help is reportedly critical for the Ukrainian war effort, as new recruits and returning veterans who signed up when the invasion began had no experience with the anti-tank missiles. Since February, the United Kingdom has delivered more than 3,600 Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (NLAWs) to Ukraine. Kyiv requested more following reports that they had proven highly effective against Russian armor.
The launchers are relatively easy to use and give ground troops a modern, lightweight counter to Russia’s vast numbers of slow-moving – and often dated – tanks (mostly T-72 and T-90 Main Battle Tanks).
British military trainers have had a presence in Ukraine since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 but were withdrawn in February as the likelihood of Russian president Vladimir Putin ordering an all-out invasion of Ukraine increased. Reports of the British training came after Russian TV warned that Western involvement in the war – such as supplying weapons to Ukraine and training its military – meant that World War Three had already begun.