Inside the West’s Mammoth Effort to Turn Ordinary Ukrainians Into Soldiers

Featured in Time Magazine

War in Ukraine


Five weeks is a relatively short period to undergo basic infantry training. Ed Arnold, a research fellow for European security at the London-based Royal United Services Institute and a former British army officer, tells TIME that he had over three years of training before he ever stepped foot onto a warzone. But Ukraine doesn’t have the luxury of time nor an unlimited roster of soldiers at its disposal. Though Kyiv does not disclose its death toll, which it considers a state secret, U.S. officials estimate that as many as 70,000 Ukrainians have been killed, according to the New York Times—a staggering figure for an army of Ukraine’s size. “What’s been happening up until this point is they’re pretty much absorbed straight into combat units and pushed to the front to deal with casualties,” Arnold says of new recruits. “I’d rather have five weeks than not have the five weeks, but it’s really quite basic.”