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The Dutch Marine Corps has officially commenced training activities to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces in their battle against the Russian invasion.

Announced by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 11 February, the training effort is being carried out as part of Operation Interflex, an ongoing international training initiative led by the UK.

The five-week-long training programme, which is being conducted in the north of the UK, will involve the Dutch Marine Corps personnel in training nearly 200 Ukrainian soldiers.

One of the Ukrainian participants, cited by the Dutch MoD, said: “It really doesn’t feel like a game. The training sessions and the locations are very realistic.

“We are learning everything we need for our return to Ukraine. Yes, it is an intensive programme. But instructors give their full 100% to transfer all their knowledge and experience to us.”

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According to the Netherlands Marine Corps 21 Raiding Squadron commander major Koen, who leads a team of 65 marines, out of the 200 Ukrainian soldiers, the first batch of participants has already completed half of the training.

Koen added: “We are teaching the Ukrainians to survive. Think of living in the field or giving medical care. Of course, we also focus on learning to fight – offensive tactics, shooting, weapon learning and dealing with explosives.”

The training was also witnessed by Netherlands Armed Forces general commander Onno Eichelsheim, Dutch Naval Forces commander vice admiral René Tas along with other military officials.

The MoD informed that the Dutch Marine Corps would be carrying out two training rotations for the Ukrainian troops from January to early April this year.

Once complete, the Dutch Army soldiers from the 13 Light Brigade will take over the task.