Special forces are in Kyiv showing Ukrainians how to use anti-tank missiles, it has been claimed
ByJamie Johnson WASHINGTON 16 April 2022 • 6:00am
The British troops are reportedly showing Ukrainians how to use anti-tank missiles CREDIT: AP
British SAS troops are on the ground in Kyiv training Ukrainian soldiers how to use anti-tank missiles, it has been claimed.
Officers from two battalions said that British special forces had visited them within the last two weeks for a critical crash course in handling the powerful weapons, which had been supplied by the UK.
Previously, the soldiers had been learning how to use them by watching YouTube videos.
Britain first sent military trainers to Ukraine after the invasion of Crimea in 2014, but said that it had pulled its forces out of the country in February in order to avoid the possibility of a direct conflict with Russia and Nato being dragged into the war.
However, Captain Yuriy Myronenko, whose battalion is stationed in Obolon on the northern outskirts of Kyiv, told The Times that training had resumed and that it was essential for new recruits and returning veterans who had no experience with anti-tank missiles.
“We have received huge military help from Britain,” he said. “But the people who knew how to use NLAWs were in other places, so we had to go on YouTube to teach ourselves. You can learn in seven minutes, five to seven minutes.
“After that we had good training. British officers were here two weeks ago in our unit and they trained us really good. And because we have had successes, we have self-confidence now.”
This has an active magnetic and optical sensor and detonated by a proximity fuse. The sensor data is used to match the known target criteria before warhead detonation.
Soldier can bring the system into the firing position in under five seconds. The soldier discards the launcher after firing.
The claims were echoed by a Ukrainian special forces commander, who told the paper that the 112th battalion to which his unit was attached had undergone training last week.
“They were good guys, the Brits,” another commander, nicknamed “Bear”, said. “They have invited us to visit them when the war is over”.
Dozens of British army veterans have travelled to Ukraine to fight, but the commanders insisted these were serving British special forces soldiers who were there for training.
The Ministry of Defence refused to confirm the Ukrainian commanders’ accounts, citing a longstanding convention not to comment on special operations.
On March 1, Boris Johnson said there were no circumstances in which Nato should directly get involved in fighting in Ukraine.
“It’s very, very important to understand that Nato is a defensive alliance. This is a time when miscalculation and misunderstanding is all too possible.”
But this latest move is likely to agitate Russia.
On Friday, it emerged that Moscow had sent a formal letter to the US warning that shipments of sensitive weapons from the United States and Nato were exacerbating tensions in Ukraine and could lead to “unpredictable consequences”.
The diplomatic démarche, a copy of which was reviewed by The Washington Post, said that the US was “adding fuel” to the conflict with its latest $800m military aid package.
Britain has sent £450 million in weaponry and £400m of economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine since the conflict began.
This includes 10,000 missiles, with NLAW anti-tank weapons, Starstreak anti-air missile systems and Javelin missiles all arriving in the country.
Britain has also sent body armour, helmets and combat boots.