UK

Ukrainian medics learn life-saving skills on British Army-backed course

Some of the skills being taught include triaging mass casualties with a range of different injuries (Danny Lawson/PA)
Some of the skills being taught include triaging mass casualties with a range of different injuries (Danny Lawson/PA) Some of the skills being taught include triaging mass casualties with a range of different injuries (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ukrainian medics are learning vital life-saving battlefield skills thanks to a new combat training course backed by the British Army and its international partners.

Techniques such as providing medical care under fire, controlling heavy blood loss and giving crucial pre-hospital emergency care are part of the five-week course which began on  May 29.

Real-life experiences of what is needed on the battlefield have been included in the programme, which is being taught to Ukrainian armed forces’ medics as they fight Russia’s invasion of their homeland.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian invasion of Ukraine Different battlefield skills are being taught during a combat medical training course in Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

Trainees, who are also instructed on how best to optimise their own health so they are fit to fight, are keen to learn “as much as they can”, while British officials have described their involvement as humbling, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Ukrainian trainee Viktor said:  “This course is very useful and I want to keep learning as much as I can.

“All the instructors are very helpful and knowledgeable, even for those without any experience.

“It’s a lot of practice and I feel better equipped now to take this knowledge back to Ukraine.

“It will not be easy, but we are counterattacking now and we will win.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian invasion of Ukraine Members of the Ukrainian armed forces during a combat medical training course (Danny Lawson/PA)

The trainees put their learning to the test in practice battlefield scenarios to give them the confidence to effectively apply their skills on the frontline.

Some of the skills being taught include triaging mass casualties with a range of different injuries, treating casualties with major injuries caused by blasts and small arms fire, treating and safely extracting patients from civilian and military vehicles, and extracting casualties under fire.

The current course, which is being run by the  British Army and instructors from the Netherlands and Iceland, is the first of three combat medical training programmes, each designed to help about 50 Ukrainian personnel.

Course director Captain Phil Williams of 2nd Medical Brigade said: “We have a top-class team of medical instructors, and we are all humbled and proud at having a part to play in helping Ukraine liberate their homeland from this illegal invasion.

“The Ukrainian students are keen to learn and absolutely dedicated to gaining as many skills as they can before returning home to save life.

“The vast majority have been actively involved on the battlefield and many carry the wounds of war.

“They are an absolute pleasure to teach and, such is the nature of their recent experience, we learn as much from them as they do from us.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian invasion of Ukraine The current course is being run by the British Army and instructors from the Netherlands and Iceland (Danny Lawson/PA)

Defence minister Andrew Murrison described the programme as an example of “how the UK Armed Forces and our international partners are successfully working together to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion”.

He added: “Our support to Ukraine will continue for as long as it takes, from providing battle-winning training to donating the equipment and ammunition Ukraine urgently needs.”

International commitments totalling more than 60 billion dollars (£47 billion) have been made to help support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction, the MoD said.

It includes a package of UK financial support for Ukraine, featuring £2.35 billion of additional guarantees to unlock World Bank lending over three years, and £240 million of bilateral assistance.

It also includes 1.3 billion dollars (£1 billion) in US aid to modernise Ukraine’s energy system and critical infrastructure.

To date, the UK and its allies have trained more than 17,000 Ukraine personnel in areas such as the fundamentals of frontline combat.