British military
Chaplaincy is a "critical capability for Ukrainian commanders," according to the British Army's Chaplain General, Reverend Michael D. Parker. Reuters

The Ministry of Defence has announced today that the ten Ukrainian military chaplains who received training from the British Army alongside their UK counterparts have graduated from the course based in Wiltshire, with this being the first course of its kind in the United Kingdom.

For the past two weeks, the chaplains had been included within the Royal Army Chaplains' Department of the British Army to be educated on topics such as spiritual support, moral guidance and providing pastoral care, all during military operations and the entirety of the post-war period. Once deployed back on the front lines of the Ukrainian conflict with Russia, the chaplains will be expected to use their training to boost morale and restore spirits.

Developed by British military chaplains and supported by the UK Armed Forces under Operation Orbital, this course followed a request from the Ukrainian Armed Forces to equip their participants with religious and practical resources. These resources will be needed to support personnel during the most difficult aspects of the conflict such as loss, bereavement and a decline in mental health.

The Reverend Michael D. Parker KHC CF, the Chaplain General to His Majesty's Land Forces commented with pride on the success of the course and said: "It has been the greatest of privileges to work with our Ukrainian Partner Forces to develop an understanding of chaplaincy within high-intensity warfare. Together, we have examined the centrality of the moral component of fighting power and the part chaplains play in monitoring and sustaining this. They have been able to teach us as much as we have been able to teach them."

Reverend Parker concluded his statement with a touching prayer, saying: "I pray that God will bless, protect and guide them as they return to Ukraine."

Currently, there are 160 chaplains within the multi-faith Chaplaincy branch of the Ukrainian military, which was officially established in 2021, and there are aspirations to grow these ranks to over 700 chaplains, which will ensure that spiritual support is available across all of the military sites.

The Royal Army Chaplains' Department was founded in 1796 and has become synonymous with bringing care, comfort and compassion to those affected by the horrors of war. Since 1945, Chaplains have accompanied British soldiers to wherever they are stationed in order to provide the soldiers, and their families with spiritual and philosophical support, irrespective of faith.

Reverend Robin Richardson, Chaplain of the Royal Army's Chaplain's Department, was responsible for developing the programme. He said: "Wherever there are people, they need the spiritual support, moral guidance and pastoral care that chaplains bring, whether they are in units, in hospitals or training establishments."

The Reverend continued: "The hope is that the planning tools, religious and pastoral resources, and hands-on experience we have provided will only make them more effective in their roles on the front line."

Alongside this support to Ukraine's military forces, the UK government have provided more than 10,000 anti-tank missiles and 100,000 rounds of artillery ammunition to Ukraine. The government also provided over £2 billion in military aid to Ukraine last year, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak committing to match this figure in 2023, as the war against Russia continues to ravage on.