Ukraine authorities discuss mass burial site in Izyum
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France has trained just 40 Ukrainian soldiers compared to the thousands already trained in the UK. Brexit Britain has so far been deemed so efficient that six of its military allies in the West have sent trainers to accelerate its military programme. Under Operation Interflex, the UK has trained nearly 5,000 Ukrainian troops and has set up a target of 10,000.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament last week that the country has “a lot more capacity” to offer to its allies in Kyiv.
He said: “We set a target of 10,000 troops — but through this pipeline, I envisage that we will continue to train as many as are sent by Ukraine.
“We are already seeing this make a difference to the combat effectiveness of Ukraine.”
In a bid to justify President Emmanuel Macron’s reluctance to provide more military aid in France, an adviser to French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu said: “Emmanuel Macron was very clear — Ukraine will and must win, but Russia must not be humiliated.
“Our line is to show our solidarity with Ukraine to help her towards victory — but if not, to be able to play a role when the conflict stops.”
He added: “The UK has chosen to forge ahead with basic training.
“We are doing more specialised training.
“We are not going to tell you everything that we do.”
French officials have also said that the country will take part in an EU-level military programme being proposed by EU Commissioner Josep Borell.
Speaking to Politico, Ed Arnold, research fellow for European security at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank blasted: “This is ‘classic EU’ in terms of speed.
“This isn’t a very difficult decision for the EU, but it’s taking a little bit of time. Those EU members who joined the UK framework probably did it out of expediency.”
On Thursday, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said supporting Ukraine comes at a high cost for the bloc, but freedom is “priceless”.
Speaking in Kyiv, Ms Von der Leyen reiterated that the bloc would be unwavering in its backing of Ukraine, as cracks start to appear among member states in how to further punish Russia for the invasion of its neighbour.
The EU’s sanctions on Russia are finally having a deep and visible impact, Von der Leyen told Reuters in an interview hours after she met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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“It needed a certain amount of time for them to unfold their impact, and this is visible now,” the head of the EU’s executive body said.
Asked about the potential impact of Europe’s developing energy crisis on support for Kyiv, Von der Leyen said standing with Ukraine “comes at a high cost, but our freedom, the international peace order, and democracy, is priceless.”
The EU jointly funded military aid for the first time in its history to support Ukraine this year, through the European Peace Facility.
Ms Von der Leyen said further support from the programme would likely be forthcoming in future, and described Ukraine’s recent lightning counter-offensive in its north-east and south as “lifting spirits, not only in Ukraine but all over Europe.”
The September assault has seen Kyiv claim the recapture of around 9000 square kilometres of land from Moscow, the vast majority of that in the north-eastern region of Kharkiv.
Asked about further EU help to bolster the counter-offensive, Von der Leyen gave no indication that support would diminish.
“More than ever, it is necessary that Ukraine gets all the military capability it needs to defend itself,” she said, without giving further details.
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