Estonia Joins UK-Led Military Training Program for Kyiv

Estonia has announced its participation in the British government’s military training program for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Operation Interflex is a multinational initiative launched in 2022 to enhance Kyiv’s infantry, intelligence, and related capabilities for its defense against Russia’s invasion.

For the program, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said Tallinn will provide additional basic training instructors in activities being held in the UK and specialized courses in Estonia.

The country will also support future contributions to the EU’s Military Assistance Mission for Ukraine.

“In addition to a constant influx of weapons and ammunition, Ukraine needs the ongoing support of Western countries in training new and additional armed forces personnel in this war, as it transforms into a protracted conflict,” Pevkur stated.

”That is why Estonia has decided to join Operation Interflex, in which instructors from our own Defence Forces will soon be training Ukrainian soldiers in the United Kingdom.”

UK Ukraine training mission Operation Orbital
UK instructors train Ukrainian marines as part of Operation Orbital in Odessa, Ukraine, January 2019. Image: Ukrainian Naval Forces

Operation Interflex

Interflex serves as the continuation of Operation Orbital, a similar warfighter preparation effort for Ukraine in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

At the end of Orbital, Britain and partner countries had trained roughly 22,000 Ukrainian soldiers.

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for Interflex during a visit to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in June 2022.

By June 2023, the operation had honed the skills of over 17,000 Ukrainian recruits. This number increased to 30,000 in November 2023.

“Operation Interflex is the largest international training scheme for Ukrainian recruits of its kind, and I am very pleased to welcome the skills and expertise of Estonian instructors in bolstering the programme,” UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said.

“Estonia’s contribution will mark the 12th nation to lend its support to the UK’s programme, which has already provided more than 34,000 Ukrainian recruits with essential frontline combat skills.”

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