King Charles praises Ukrainian troops during visit to training camp

The King expressed his admiration for Ukrainian troops on Monday while watching them prepare for trench warfare. He spent an hour at a secret location in Wiltshire talking to the latest batch of recruits sent over to the UK to receive combat training before heading to the front line.

“You’re amazing. I don’t know how you do it. I am full of admiration,” he told a Ukrainian colonel overseeing the training of 20,000 soldiers this year.

Amid explosions, smoke and the sound of small arms fire, Charles watched a group of around 40 troops storm enemy trenches in an exercise using blank ammunition and special effects.

The troops, who spent five weeks in the UK after basic training at home, were following in the footsteps of 10,000 compatriots who have completed combat training at three sites in the North West, South East and Wiltshire in the past six months.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, the chief of the General Staff and professional head of the British Army, accompanied the King during the inspection.

He said: “We’re looking to train a further 20,000 this year. It’s about doing what we call battlefield inoculation.

“It’s exposing them to some of the shock, some of the violence, some of the conditions that you face on the battlefield.”

The troops, who were 20 days into their 35-day crash course, focus on attacking and defending trenches, combat patrols, first aid and other essential skills that will enable them to be thrown into battle almost immediately when they return to Ukraine.

Around 1,000 UK troops and others from international partners such as New Zealand, Australia and European allies are involved in providing the training.

Major Tony Harris of the 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry regiment, who was overseeing the exercise, said troops in New Zealand would usually be given nine months
of training before being deemed combat-ready, so the Ukrainian training had to be “razor-focused”.

King Charles met a selection of trainers and trainees during his visit.

He also received a traditional Maori greeting from a New Zealander who is part of the contingent working at the site.

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