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In Preparation For Possible Escalation, US Started Training Ukrainian Forces In Germany

Story Highlights
  • U.S. has focused on meeting the more immediate needs of Ukrainian forces on the battlefield, such as teaching them how to use the many Western weapons systems that are pouring into the country.
  • More than 3,100 Ukrainian troops have already been taught by the U.S. how to use and take care of howitzers, armoured vehicles, and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the goal is to get a battalion of about 500 troops back on the battlefield to fight the Russians in the next five to eight weeks. The training started on Sunday in Germany.

Milley plans to go to Grafenwoehr on Monday to see the programme for himself. He said that the troops being trained have already left Ukraine. There is a full set of weapons and gear for them to use in Germany.

Up until now, the Pentagon wouldn’t say when exactly the training would start.

The so-called “combined arms training” is meant to improve the skills of the Ukrainian forces so that they will be better able to go on the attack or defend themselves against a Russian attack surge. They will learn how to better move and coordinate their company- and battalion-sized units in battle by combining artillery, armour, and ground forces.

Milley told two reporters who were travelling with him to Europe on Sunday that the complex training, along with the new weapons, artillery, tanks, and other vehicles that are on their way to Ukraine, will be key to helping the country’s forces take back territory that Russia has taken over in the almost 11-month-long war.

Milley said, “This help is very important for Ukraine to be able to defend itself.” “And we hope to be able to put this all together quickly.”

He said that the goal is to get all the new weapons and equipment to Ukraine so that the newly trained forces can use it “sometime before the spring rains.” That’d be perfect.”

The new order comes at a time when Ukrainian forces are fighting hard in the eastern part of the province of Donetsk, where the Russian military says it has control of the small salt-mining town of Soledar. Ukraine says its troops are still fighting, but if Moscow’s troops take over Soledar, they could get closer to Bakhmut, where fighting has been going on for months.

Russia also fired a lot of missiles at Ukraine, including at the capital city of Kyiv, the city of Kharkiv in the northeast, and the city of Dnipro in the southeast, where 30 people died in one apartment building.

Milley said that he wants to make sure that the training is going as planned and that nothing else is needed. He also wants to make sure that it will work well with the deliveries of equipment.

The programme will include both classroom work and work in the field. At first, only small squads will be involved, but as time goes on, larger units will join. It would end with a more complicated battle drill that included a whole battalion and a headquarters unit.

Up until now, the U.S. has focused on meeting the more immediate needs of Ukrainian forces on the battlefield, such as teaching them how to use the many Western weapons systems that are pouring into the country.

More than 3,100 Ukrainian troops have already been taught by the U.S. how to use and take care of howitzers, armoured vehicles, and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS. Other countries also train people to use the weapons they give out.

When announcing the new programme last month, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said that the goal was to “give them this advanced level of collective training that allows them to do effective combined arms operations and manoeuvre on the battlefield.”

Milley said that the U.S. was training in this way before the Russian invasion in February of last year. But when the war started, all of the U.S. National Guard and special operations troops who were training in Ukraine left the country. This new effort, which is being led by the 7th Army Training Command of the U.S. Army Europe and Africa, is a continuation of what they were doing before the invasion. There is also training from other European allies.

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