Britain trains Ukrainian military chaplains for the first time
Ten Ukrainian military chaplains recently concluded a two–week training program in Great Britain in collaboration with their British counterparts, which marked the inaugural iteration of its kind.
This is stated in the message of the British government.
Over the past two weeks, ten chaplains have trained with the Royal British Army Chaplains Department to learn more about providing pastoral care, spiritual support, and moral guidance during military operations and the following post-war recovery period.
"Now they will go to the front lines of Ukraine's war with Russia, where their task will be to instill hope and restore morale in the troops fighting for the return of Ukraine's sovereign territory," the message reads.
This course, developed by British military chaplains with the support of the British Armed Forces as part of Operation Orbital, was created in response to a request from Ukraine's armed forces and aimed to provide participants with the religious and practical resources needed to support personnel in the most difficult aspects of operations – from bereavement to mental health difficulties.
Currently, 160 chaplains work in the growing multi-denominational chaplaincy service of the Ukrainian military, officially established in 2021. There is an intention to increase their ranks to 738 chaplains to provide spiritual and pastoral support in units, hospitals, and training centers.
Reverend Robin Richardson, Chaplain of the Royal Army Chaplaincy Department, was responsible for the development of the program.
"Wherever people are, they need spiritual support, moral guidance, and pastoral care provided by chaplains, regardless of where they are – in units or hospitals.
A significant part of the program was devoted to chaplaincy in an operational context, with participants supporting service members currently undergoing combat training in Wiltshire as part of the British-led training of Ukrainian recruits. The specially designed program highlights Britain's wide range of training for the Ukrainian army, including basic infantry training, medical training, and Challenger 2 tank training.
The UK and its allies have trained more than 15,000 service members of Ukraine's armed forces in areas such as the basics of frontline warfare and more specialized training. The five-week training program for recruits includes training in weapons handling, battlefield first aid, field equipment, patrol tactics, and the law of armed conflict, enabling them to defend their country on the front lines effectively.