Ukrainian soldiers during a British training course. Photo by British Ministry of Defense.
LONDON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Britain is enhancing its training program for the Ukrainian military by broadening the skill sets to be taught.
The move was announced by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon during a visit to Ukraine, which is battling Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country.
"Our training program for the Ukrainian Armed Forces continues to be well-received and highly valued by troops and commanders in the east of the country," he said. "Since March, 13 UK training teams have deployed across eight locations and we expect to have trained around 2,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of the year.
"By adding further much-needed skills and stepping up the pace of our program we can provide more and better training, improving the resilience of Ukrainian forces and further reducing casualties resulting from the on-going conflict."
Britain is currently providing medical, infantry, logistics and tactical intelligence training to Ukrainian forces. About 1,000 Ukrainian troops have undergone the training since March.
It will now add ground threat awareness, such as identifying mines and improvised explosive devices. Other training will include how to conduct defensive operations in an urban environment, operational planning, and engineering expertise.
Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean region in 2014 and is involved with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The move has sparked distrust throughout Europe of Russia's territorial ambitions.