For the past few weeks, a group of veterans of Western special forces have been training Ukrainian soldiers in combat. In four months, the Mozart group became known internationally.
This private military group is said to have trained 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers in armed combat.
Currently based in Donbass, the group, made up of a few dozen volunteers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and other Western countries, helps Ukrainian volunteers who want to fight for their country.
“One in ten soldiers was in the army before the war and they received very little training,” Andy Milburn, the group’s founder, recently explained to The Guardian.
This retired Marine Corps colonel, who spent 31 years in the US Army, therefore gathered volunteer experts to train civilians.
Humanitarian aid and fighting spirit
Largely funded by US private donors, Mozart also provides humanitarian aid, including sanitary products and food, to frontline cities, and extracts vulnerable people from high-risk combat zones.
The members of Mozart are keen to distance themselves from the influx of war tourists and would-be fighters that could be found in Kyiv at the start of the conflict.
Ukrainian soldiers receive intensive five- or ten-day courses in basic weapons handling, marksmanship, maneuvers, as well as battlefield tactics, which would ideally take six months to complete.
Ukrainian troops are trained close to the front line because their commanders cannot risk their soldiers being taken away from the battlefield too long in case the Russians attempt to advance.
Not be associated with the Wagner group
As The Guardian explains, the Mozart Group name was coined by its members to disassociate themselves from the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian paramilitary organization often described as Vladimir Putin’s private army.
“I didn’t want to be associated or compared to the Wagner group.
We are not a counter-group of the Wagner group; what we do is quite different,” Milburn said.
Since 2014, the Wagner Group has operated in insecure and low-income countries, including Syria, Libya and the Central African Republic, protecting Russian interests with little regard for human rights or international law.
Despite providing arms and training overseas, the US, UK, EU and other Western allies have officially not deployed troops to Ukraine for fear that the conflict escalates into a war between Russia and NATO.
Source: leparis 25.08.2022