Kiev's forces don't have the skills to handle Western weapons, army veterans-turned trainers told the paper.
Ukrainian recruits fighting in Donbass are undergoing ten-day intensive training courses led by a group of Western ex-military personnel calling themselves the Mozart Group, The Guardian reported on Friday.
Group members told the paper Ukrainian recruits' training and combat experience was lacking to the point where weapons supplied by the West were largely going to waste.
The company was founded by Andy Milburn, a retired American Marine Corps colonel who served with the US military for 31 years, and is mostly funded by private US donors, according to The Guardian. The group includes other carefully vetted Western army veterans from the US, the UK, Ireland, and elsewhere.
The Mozart Group provides intensive crash courses for Ukrainian soldiers lasting between five and ten days. The paper reported that this type of training would normally take six months because of the courses, which include basic weapon handling, marksmanship, fire and maneuver and battlefield tactics.
According to the company instructors, Ukrainian soldiers are given a boost because of the training. Milburn said that only one out of this group of 40 had zeroed his weapon before the training began. It is considered one of the basic principles of military training, which means aligning the sights so that one can aim accurately.
Western instructors criticized Ukraine's approach to training and mobilization by calling it backwards. This was what it must have been like in World War One, a company member identified as Alex said.
Another member of the Mozart Group, a former advanced paramedic from Ireland identified as Dathan, said that the Ukrainian government doesn't want to say that most of their military isn't really trained. According to the group, weapons supplied to Ukraine by Washington and its allies since the beginning of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow in February are simply not being used properly due to the lack of experience on the Ukrainian side.
The Guardian said that the systems sophisticated sight batteries are running out before the missiles are fired, and that the US-made anti-tank missile systems worth $178,000 are misused or redundant. Alex, who claimed to have specialized training in using Javelins and the UK-made NLAW missile systems, said they are not getting the training they need.
Since the beginning of the military conflict with Russia in February, Western backers provided Kiev with portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems, as well as heavier weapons like the German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. In July, US media outlets reported that the diversity of the arms had been causing problems for the Ukrainian military due to their complicated logistics, training, and maintenance.