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  • Writer's pictureSi Biggs

Royal Marines - Operations in Ukraine

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

Royal Marines Commandos supported "discreet operations" when deployed to Ukraine earlier this year, a former head of the Marines has said.

Lieutenant General Robert Magowan said marines were deployed to Ukraine twice this year - first in January to evacuate the British Embassy in Kyiv.

In a birthday message to Royal Marines Commandos in the Globe and Laurel, the official publication of the Marines, Lt Gen Magowan said the personnel had served in Ukraine "with a high level of political and military risk".

"We have already seen glimpses of the new Commando Force concept playing out for real in the horrific conflict in Ukraine," he said.

"In January this year, 45 Commando Group deployed at short notice from the depths of a dark, north Norwegian winter, to evacuate the British Embassy in Kyiv to Poland," he went on. "The go-to 999 international emergency force, if you will.

"Then in April, they returned in to the country to re-establish the diplomatic mission, providing protection to critical personnel.

"During both phases the commandos supported other discreet operations in a hugely sensitive environment and with a high level of political and military risk."

Lt Gen Magowan also said the "ability to move and operate across" the future battlespace is "highly constrained".

"We are seeing this play out today in fact, in the Donbas and the Black Sea region.

"It is an all-seeing environment, with few places to hide, where there is a constant battle for supremacy of the electromagnetic environment, an environment where you need freedom to fly, communicate, see and strike.

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"This is the so-called anti-access area denial battlespace, or anti-access and area denial (A2AD) for those in the business of trying to understand and dominate it.

"It calls for dispersal, deception, disaggregation from large to smaller forces. It demands an embracement of cutting-edge technology, such as swarming drones, lightweight communications and state-of-the art electronic interception.

"Operators require an ingenuity to test these capabilities, learn how to get the best from them in extremis, adapt them and, where necessary, defend against them.

"It calls for the ability to break in, to move decisively and discreetly, to prosecute effect at range and withdraw – the so-called pulsed operation, as nobody can dominate the battlespace for long periods of time anymore.

"This is the new Commando Force and it is firmly established on its journey to be forward deployed, in and around harm's way, on a much more regular basis," he added.

"There is no turning back."

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