Ukrainian soldiers secretly trained to use Patriot missiles in Netherlands

The Dutch military quietly trained Ukrainian soldiers on operating the Patriot anti-aircraft defense system in Vredepeel, Limburg, over the past weeks. The training is now done. The army kept quiet that Ukrainian soldiers were in the Netherlands for security reasons. “If you give it too much publicity, people will go to the barracks to look,” Commander of the Armed Forces, Onno Eichelsheim, told De Telegraaf.

The training was an extremely intensive crash course of six or seven days a week, 12 to 15 hours a day, lasting ten weeks, according to the newspaper. The Ministry of Defense used a special measure to suspend the Working Hours Act because the trainers had to work far more than the legal limits. That led to dissatisfaction and complaints to the military unions. The Ministry has now arranged an extra allowance for the trainers’ “special effort.”

“Our soldiers work many hours to train Ukrainian soldiers as quickly as possible,” the Ministry of Defense said. “That is important because these soldiers are badly needed for the defense of their country. Our people do this with great dedication and commitment. Due to the urgency, the training in question happened as soon as possible, after which regulations were drawn up for the personnel. That took some time.” The soldiers receive an allowance of 60 to 80 euros a day, a spokesperson told the Telegraaf.

The Patriot air defense system is essential for defending Ukrainian troops, civilians, and vital infrastructure. Despite the hours, the trainers were highly motivated to teach the Ukrainians the basics of these complicated weapons. The training to use them usually takes months. Training technicians to maintain the system takes even longer. About 90 soldiers and technicians are needed to keep a Patriot unit alert in three shifts per 24 hours.

The Netherlands also trains Ukrainians to use tanks and armored howitzers. These drills happen on military sites abroad, including in England and Germany. The Netherlands also trains Ukrainians in detecting explosives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *