British troops have begun a training mission in Ukraine, helping government forces fighting pro-Russian separatists, the Ministry of Defense in London said Thursday.
The BBC reported that 35 personnel are in the southern city of Mykolaiv as part of a two-month mission, although the ministry spokeswoman declined to confirm the details.
“The first elements of the training package began in March… We have got troops out there training,” she told AFP, adding: “The numbers will vary depending on the schedule.”
Ministers announced last month that up to 75 troops at a time would be deployed to Ukraine, providing training on tactical intelligence, logistics and medical care.
However, the British government has ruled out supplying any lethal equipment to the Ukrainian forces. “The UK is committed to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s aggression,” the spokeswoman said.
“The gifting of non-lethal equipment is designed to prevent further Ukrainian fatalities and casualties and to help improve situational awareness on the ground. “Our overall aim is to strengthen the defensive capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and build the resilience that they need.”