Charles receives traditional Maori greeting from New Zealand soldier during visit to training site

King Charles has met with Ukrainian military recruits at a Wiltshire training camp to mark one year since the outbreak of war with Russia.

At an undisclosed location in Wiltshire, the King looked on intently as the men – many civilians who have no experience of the military – stormed a trench a few hundred metres away as the mock gun battle raged.

The royal was all smiles as he greeted the men, who will return to fight in Ukraine once their training complete.

He told one of their senior officers when he first arrived: “You are amazing, I don’t know how you do it. I am full of admiration.”

The recruits were part of a group of 200 men about to begin week four of their training under the command of Major Tony Harris, from New Zealand’s armed forces, who talked the King through the operation.

The King also took part in a hongi – the traditional Maori greeting where two people greet each other by rubbing noses.

The hongi is an important part of New Zealand's culture and means the two people are now 'unified'.

Speaking afterwards about his chat with Charles, Major Harris said: “We were talking about the fact they’ve returned to trench warfare and the contrast with World War One and how we’re back in trenches in the 21st century.

“Because of the really stout defence the Ukrainians have put in – they’ve been able to hold Russian forces to pretty much a stalemate in large parts of the theatre – the large part of holding the line is digging in and preparing for the worst.

“We’ve always dug fortification as defensive measures. Artillery fire hasn’t changed, with shells falling from the sky you still need something to protect you and it just makes sense that this is where we’ve got to in this war.”

As the first anniversary of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine approaches, hundreds of men are undergoing the five weeks of basic training to prepare them for combat or enhance the skills of others who have already been fighting on the front line.

King Charles' visit comes after meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month when the Ukrainian president flew to the UK for talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Charles greeted the president with a wide smile and a warm handshake in Buckingham Palace.

The pair discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the part Britain has played in supporting the nation, Buckingham Palace said.


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