Defense

US to expand training of Ukrainian troops

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The United States plans to expand its training of Ukrainian troops in Europe as Russia continues to bombard the country with missile strikes, the Pentagon announced. 

“We will expand U.S.-led training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, to include joint maneuver and combined arms operations training, while building upon the specialized equipment training that we’re already providing to the Ukrainians,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Thursday.  

Ryder called the combined arms maneuver training a “logical next step in our ongoing training efforts.”

The extra training — to take place in Germany, through U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command’s 7th Army Training Command — will take on roughly 500 Ukrainians per month starting in January, he said.  

The training will include “live fire exercises,” then squad, platoon and company-level training that will culminate in battalion-level maneuver training, in addition to battalion headquarters staff training. 

The Defense Department may adjust the program in the future “based on the needs of our Ukrainian partners and the evolving situation in Ukraine,” Ryder added. 

Ryder was “not aware” of any need to increase U.S. forces in Europe to accommodate the training.  

“We have forces in place that have been conducting training. So to my knowledge, no significant increase in support,” he said.  

Ryder called the training a “continuation” of what the U.S. had been providing to the Ukrainian military since 2014, and added that when Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, U.S. trainers were forced to leave the country.

“When Russia invaded, we withdrew our trainers from Ukraine, and so this is a continuation now of the training that we had previously provided,” he said. 

Over the last seven years, the U.S. has trained some 23,000 Ukrainian soldiers inside the country, a $126 million effort, with training provided mostly by National Guard troops. 

But the Pentagon had to make some adjustments on how to go about such aid since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24.  

Since spring, the United States has given Ukrainian forces weapons training for artillery systems, drones and radars. More recently, Washington has trained Kyiv’s troops on air defense systems recently given to the embattled country.  

The effort involves taking Ukrainians out of their country to train at multiple locations in Europe. 

Tags Pat Ryder Ukraine
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