Czech soldiers train nearly a thousand Ukrainians in Poland

 04. 02. 2024      Category: Defense & Security

In a significant contribution to international military assistance, specialized mobile teams of Czech engineers, chemists, medics, and snipers trained nearly a thousand Ukrainian soldiers in Poland last year. This initiative, part of the European Union Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM), is set to continue and even expand in the coming year. Captain Pavel Kinc, commander of the first rotation, highlighted the mutual benefits of this collaboration, stating that the real-world experience shared by the Ukrainian soldiers allows for the refinement of Czech operational procedures, fostering sustainable solutions, conflict prevention, and stronger cooperation with other partners.

The deployment of these mobile teams was coordinated with the Czech Army liaison officers, integrated within the multinational training command structure of the CAT-C (Combined Arms Training – Command) in Poland. The intensive training sessions typically spanned five weeks, with a focus on engineering preparation and precision shooting. The final week was dedicated to comprehensive exercises to validate the skills acquired at the platoon level.

Picture: Training soldiers of Ukraine in Poland | EUMAM

The sniper training encompassed foundational theories, from distance calculation and ballistic trajectories to firearms knowledge, culminating in live firing sessions facilitated by the Polish military. Beyond shooting, the training covered the full scope of a sniper's responsibilities, including movement planning, stealth positioning, and environment observation.

Engineering training paired theoretical lessons with practical exercises using models, dummy ammunition, and explosives, including live demolition sessions to test the Ukrainians' skills comprehensively. Medical and chemical training were conducted in weekly segments, adhering to NATO standards for Tactical Combat Casualty Care/Combat Life Saver (TCCC/CLS), with an emphasis on treating gunshot wounds and life-saving techniques under simulated stress conditions.

Czech chemical warfare experts were integrated into a Polish team specializing in treating victims of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), focusing on CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) defense, including decontamination and individual protection measures.

The training was specifically designed for Ukrainian mechanized and infantry battalions, who showed great enthusiasm and eagerness to learn from the Czech instructors. Captain Kinc noted the Ukrainians' keen interest in absorbing as much knowledge as possible to enhance their preparedness.

The exchange of experiences and skills is invaluable, according to Captain Kinc, as it helps update operational procedures for real-world conflicts, contributes to sustainable solutions, prevents future conflicts, and strengthens global cooperation for peace and security in Europe.

Initially, the deployment in Poland presented uncertainties, but a functional training system that satisfied both alliance partners and Ukrainian units was soon established. The Czech teams were praised for their organization and professional approach, becoming an indispensable part of the training efforts, especially in reinforcing the EU's commitment to supporting Ukraine's defense capabilities.

The training initiative is under the auspices of the 2nd Task Force, with plans to increase the number of Czech instructors participating in the mission. This expansion will accommodate up to 800 personnel at any given time, including instructors from NATO states beyond the EU assistance mission for Ukraine. The Czech Ministry of Defense, led by Minister Jana Černochová, has announced an increase in Czech military instructors and the involvement of additional specialists and logisticians to support the mobile teams.

The financial expenditure associated with the training of Ukrainian armed forces personnel in the Czech Republic for 2024 is estimated at 252 million CZK. This initiative not only affirms the Czech Republic's role as a responsible ally and partner but also enhances the readiness and functionality of Czech military units.

The Czech Army is dispatching the second rotation of this mission, continuing to provide expert training and instruction to Ukrainian soldiers to improve their operational effectiveness and readiness. The core of the 2nd Task Force includes soldiers from the 43rd Airborne Regiment in Chrudim, who, along with providing command and logistical support, also contribute medical and sniper training teams. This group is supplemented by CBRN specialists from the 31st Regiment in Liberec and engineers from the 153rd Engineering Battalion in Olomouc.

The structure of the mobile training module remains consistent, with Czech engineering, medical, and sniper teams having already departed for the first training rotation. A mobile chemical warfare team will be deployed by the end of January.

Captain Ondřej Kučera, commander of the second rotation, expressed his expectations for the ongoing mission, emphasizing the goal of enhancing Ukrainian soldiers' military skills and their ability to respond swiftly and flexibly to various security challenges. This includes not only direct training but also creating opportunities for exchanging experiences and knowledge.

To date, the Czech military has trained over 3,500 Ukrainian colleagues on Czech soil. The training of Ukrainian soldiers has been widely supported, including by the defense committee, which views assistance to Ukraine, especially in the form of training, as exemplary.

 Author: Michal Fencl