The Ukrainian army suffered heavy casualties on the battlefield and they were short on resources. Photo/Reuters
KIEV – One of the new Ukrainian soldiers sent by Kiev to Germany for training in the use of Western weapons turned out to be a 71-year-old manusla. It shows that Ukraine does lack human resources to send to war.
The elderly man has volunteered to join the Ukrainian military. According to the Financial Times, NATO instructors working at a military base near Klietz in northeastern Germany said that while they were impressed by the “extraordinary motivation” of the Ukrainian trainees, the ages and abilities of those who came to learn the use of weapons “varied a lot.”
NATO instructors say Ukrainian commanders on the frontline often prefer to keep their best soldiers in the trenches with them rather than send them for overseas training. As a result, the soldiers sent were seniors.
Nick Reynolds, a ground warfare researcher at the UK’s defense and security think-tank, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said that on many occasions military training provided by the West fell short of Ukraine’s expectations.
“Ukraine wants its troops to train with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and drones, in conditions appropriate to real battlefield conditions, but which can also be risky for the military personnel involved,” Reynolds said. “However, European countries have a low tolerance for training mishaps, and this approach does not meet the (Kiev) requirements for trainees,” he explained.
One of the German coaches reported that he had run into tension with senior Ukrainian commanders, who received military training in Soviet times and “felt they knew better.”
“But the number one challenge for European programs to teach Ukrainian troops to use Western equipment is a lack of translators,” said Martin Bonn, a Dutch brigadier general who is deputy head of the European Union’s multinational training mission.
“The big challenge is translating words that are used in military or technical contexts… words that no one uses in everyday life,” says Bonn.
Language problems have also reportedly hindered the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly US-designed F-16 fighter jets, a program currently underway in Denmark.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh warned last week that Washington would not approve the delivery of F-16s to Kiev by European nations until the Ukrainian airmen learned to speak English properly.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that arms shipments to Ukraine by the US and its European allies will only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. According to Russian officials, the supply of arms and training to Kiev’s troops, as well as the sharing of intelligence, means that Western countries are de facto parties to the conflict.