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Ukraine war: Kyiv’s frontline troops fight Russia without knowing how to fire a gun, ‘everything learned on the spot’


As Ukraine rotates men from rear posts to relieve its frontline fighters, some fresh arrivals aren’t meeting their commanders’ basic requirements, per the Post. Notably, these aren’t even the newly conscripted men Kyiv has been aggressively drafting in the last few months.

One officer of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, identified by his call sign Schmidt, told the Post that some of his new men didn’t know how to assemble or disassemble their rifles.

“We are just wasting a lot of time here on basic training,” said Schmidt, per The Post. He added that he required new arrivals to train in their first week by firing about 1,500 bullets daily.

The 93rd Mechanized Brigade has seen some of the heaviest fighting in the war, including the battles for Bakhmut, Kharkiv, and Avdiivka.

The Post reports that the new men in Schmidt’s unit are likely to be deployed near the devastated city of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk. One newly arrived soldier, identified by call sign Val of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, told the outlet he was assigned to the front line with a day’s notice.

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Another soldier from the 42nd Mechanized Brigade in Kharkiv told the outlet that “everything is learned on the spot.”

As for new recruits, Ukraine’s training centres are barely equipped to provide soldiers with basic training, per the Post.

One instructor told the outlet that some facilities don’t have enough Soviet-calibre bullets and only allow trainees to shoot about 20 rounds before training ends. The officer was not named because he did not have the authority to speak about his tenure at the facility.

“There are no grenades for throwing in training centres, and there are no grenade launcher rounds in the training centre,” he told the Post.

“We don’t have a proper training system in place,” he added.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense press team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The West has been highly concerned about training for Ukraine’s troops. Kyiv recently started receiving a stalled tranche of US military equipment and weaponry, but dwindling manpower is undermining that.

As Ukraine desperately tries to shore up the gaps in its military, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – such as the Baltic States and France – have hinted at plans to officially deploy military trainers in Ukraine to prepare the new waves of troops.

Russia and pro-Kremlin pundits have blasted such a move as an escalation by Nato that would cross a red line. Meanwhile, Moscow’s economy is on a war footing, recruiting new troops rapidly and putting its defence manufacturing industry into overdrive.

Its ability to resupply the battlefield with troops and equipment has led some analysts to believe it can withstand heavy losses for years.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is struggling to both find and train new men to keep up with Russia, especially with its rear vulnerable to long-range Russian strikes.

Without safe areas to conduct training, Kyiv may have little choice but to send personnel to Nato states – even more so when it comes to Ukrainian operators learning how to use new Western-supplied equipment.

“There is a difficult trade-off to make between pulling experienced soldiers from the front line to train new personnel or accepting bottlenecks in training the new personnel,” the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, wrote on Sunday.

The ISW added that the overall quality of Ukraine’s frontline troops will probably decrease as experienced fighters rotate out, but the newer soldiers are likely to learn fast alongside veterans.

It also noted that the Post’s report of Ukrainian commanders training their troops on the front line shows a difference in emphasis between Kyiv and Moscow’s forces, citing how Russian commanders were widely reported sending their poorly trained men as cannon fodder.



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