France plans to train Ukrainian soldiers in Poland

This is a significant step in the support given by France to Ukraine, which is sometimes considered too timid, in particular by the countries located on the eastern flank of Europe. According to our information, the Ministry of the Armed Forces has decided to support the training mission for Ukrainian soldiers decided on this summer by the European Union (EU) and has decided on the main principles of its participation. The French soldiers should settle in Poland, where they will provide five-week training in dedicated military camps. The staff would have expressed its desire to move quickly and be operational before the end of 2022. Asked by The worldthe ministry indicates that “Consultations are still ongoing”.

The principle of a European assistance and training mission, called European Union Training Mission (EUTM), was validated on August 30, during a meeting in Prague of European defense and foreign affairs ministers. His goal ? “Improve the functioning of the Ukrainian army”explained Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, assuring that“we can respond better by pooling capacities”. This training mission could be entrusted to the European Union’s Military Planning and Conduct Capability [MPCC]), which already manages a certain number of training courses for African armies in Mozambique or Somalia, after having done so in the past in the Central African Republic and Mali.

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Although the content of the EUTM Ukraine mission is still in the making and should not be unveiled before mid-October, the EU would like, according to our information, to concentrate on the “formed unit formation” capable of replacing those wounded or killed in action. The EU also plans to specialize its offer by responding to more specific training requests from the Ukrainian armed forces, particularly in terms of mine clearance, operational medical support and logistics. “Ukrainians don’t need combat training in urban areas, where they probably have more experience today than Westerners. They want training in very specialized specialties », approves François Heisbourg, adviser for Europe of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Poland and Slovakia have applied to host these training courses on their soil.

Strong commitment from Paris

If it corresponds to a request from kyiv, this EUTM mission is also a way for the EU to respond to the United Kingdom, which launched a major training program for Ukrainian troops in July. Called Interflex, the British operation has already provided infantry training to “nearly 5,000 soldiers”, announced the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on September 14. Supported by Canada and New Zealand, but also by half a dozen European countries (the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, etc.), Interflex plans to train 10,000 soldiers each quarter. This mission follows Operation Orbital, launched by the United Kingdom in 2015, a year after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, which has trained 22,000 Ukrainian soldiers in seven years.

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