How does Ukraine’s military balance the need to train its forces and fight in a major land war at the same time? In short, any way it can. That means training led by organic Ukrainian personnel, important but limited opportunities for Ukrainian personnel to travel abroad and undergo specialized training, and in many cases training conducted by a few volunteer organizations created and staffed by volunteers in Ukraine, which have provided a wide range of training courses, from medical to urban warfare training. Among these volunteers are a body of foreign military veterans, including from the United States.
In this episode of the Urban Warfare Project Podcast, John Spencer is joined by retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel Erik Kramer, the cofounder and director of the Ukraine Defense Support Group located in Kyiv, Ukraine. He describes his work in Ukraine since arriving in July 2022, including training the Ukrainian Armed Forces on everything from basic soldier skills and small-unit tactics to battalion and brigade planning and operations. Kramer also explains how he has modified the training his organization provides based on unit needs and the evolution of the war—specifically, the challenges Ukrainian soldiers face on the urban battlefield.
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Image credit: Sgt. Thomas Calvert, US Army