What is Operation Orbital?

Formally established in 2015, Op Orbital will turn five years old next month.

It was recently extended for another three years to March 2023.

As part of Op Orbital, staff at the mission’s Kiev-based headquarters are now planning to expand the training to include a broader range of capabilities.

Since its inception, more than 17,500 Ukrainian personnel have attended UK-led packages so far, with the oldest being 64.

This training ranges from courses on basic Infantry tactics for several hundred soldiers at a time to smaller bespoke serials focusing on Corps-level planning, logistics, or policing.

Other countries involved in training troops include:

  • Denmark;
  • Canada;
  • US;
  • Sweden;
  • Lithuania; and
  • Poland.

Background

Since 2015, negotiations to break the Ukraine-Russia impasse have focused on agreeing a roadmap for the withdrawal of military forces and the staging of free and fair elections in separatist regions.

Despite a notional ceasefire, both sides continue to trade small arms and artillery fire.

Mediation efforts have been led by France and Germany under the so-called Normandy format.

Both Vladimir Putin (Russian President) and Volodymyr Zelensky (Ukrainian President) agreed to meet and stop fighting by the end of 2019.

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