EU says it will train double the number of Ukrainian soldiers

EU says it will train double the number of Ukrainian soldiers
# 02 February 2023 19:00 (UTC +04:00)

The European Union set up a mission in November to train Ukrainian forces, with an initial target of training 15,000 soldiers, APA reports citing RFI.

EU officials on a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday said that once the target is reached – likely before the end of March – the mission would be extended to an additional 15,000 troops.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and a team of 15 policy commissioners were in Kyiv Thursday ahead of an EU-Ukraine summit on Friday, where the extension of the training programme is expected to be formally announced.

Ukraine has been asking for more weapons and training so its troops can go on the attack ahead of a potential Russian offensive in the spring.

Several European countries are involved in the training mission, including France, which will send 150 troops to the headquarters in Poland, according to French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu.

At a press conference Tuesday with his Ukrainian counterpart, Lecornu also announced France would ship 12 more Caesar truck-mounted howitzers and new air defence equipment.

Lecornu said the new batch of howitzers, which had been originally ordered by Denmark, would be delivered "in the coming weeks".

They will join the 18 already delivered. Denmark has also pledged its entire fleet of 19 French howitzers to Ukraine.

In parallel to the European troop training programme, member states have been training Ukrainian forces to use the weapons systems they are supplying.

Several countries have agreed to provide German Leopard tanks to Ukraine, and are already training troops to use them – training that may or may not be covered by the EU programme.