Ukrainian soldiers begin training in Czechia

Ukrainian soldiers have begun training here in Czechia, days after the country’s legislators approved such a move. Meanwhile, the country’s commitment to helping the country is reflected in a report that one Czech factory is producing a tank every four days for Ukraine.

Karel Řehka | Photo: Petr Dohnal,  Czech Army

Only last week both houses of the Czech Parliament passed a bill allowing for up to 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers to train on this country’s territory between now and the end of 2023.

Troops from Ukraine have already begun exercising that right, with the chief of staff of the Czech Army, Karel Řehka, saying on Sunday that some were in action in the army’s Libavá military zone in the Olomouc Region in the east of the country.

When exactly they arrived, or in what number, was not disclosed for security reasons.

The Czech Army stated on Twitter that the aim of the training was to ensure the Ukrainian soldiers were capable of conducting combat operations independently and effectively defending their own country.

The army, which also released photographs of the training, said it was happening as part of a Europe-wide effort under the banner of the EU’s Assistance Mission to Ukraine and was also being done for Czechia’s defence.

According to earlier reports, the training concerns mechanised units of the Ukrainian Army as well as soldiers with special skills. The plan is for five 40-day training rotations, each attended by up to 800 troops, by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, the news site reported on Monday that one Czech company in Šternberk, also in the Olomouc Region, was supplying a great amount of heavy machinery to Ukraine as it tries to repel the Russian invasion that began over nine months ago.

Excalibur Army’s commercial director, Richard Kuběna, said that it delivered its first rocket launchers to the Kyiv government mere days after Putin launched the attack.

Since then the firm has provided more than 120 pieces of machinery to Ukraine, chiefly modernized T-72 and T-55 tanks, BVP armored vehicles and DANA M2 howitzers. It says it is producing one tank every four days for Ukraine.

Photo: Excalibur Army

The company is currently focused on the modernization of up to 120 T-72 tanks, which have been ordered and paid for – at a cost of CZK 2.2 billion – by the US and Dutch governments.

The tanks had originally been ordered by an African state. However after hearing arguments from the EU, the US and the Czech Ministry of Defence, the customer decided to leave them to Ukraine.

As well as taking in a high per capita number of Ukrainian refugees, Czechia has donated large amounts of military equipment to Ukraine. However, exact figures and types of equipment have not been released for security reasons.

The government has also approved tens of billions of crowns worth of commercial sales from Czech arms manufacturers, either via purchase by Ukraine itself or by other states supporting Kyiv.

Czech citizens have in addition bought a T-72 tank for Ukraine by means of crowdfunding.

Author: Ian Willoughby
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