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Pentagon steps up training for Ukrainian troops – media — Analysis

The US Department of Defense reported that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers are being taught in Europe by American instructors

The US will intensify its training program in order to make more Ukrainian troops familiar with American-made weaponry being shipped to Kiev by Washington. The Hill reported this Thursday.

US media outlets report that US instructors are training hundreds of Ukrainian military personnel in Europe. These people learn how to use drones, radars, artillery and other weapons.

The Hill report pointed out that the latest numbers revealed by US defense officials indicate a major increase compared to just “About a dozen of these troops are available” in early April.

Over 220 Ukrainian troops have now been trained in the use of US-manufactured artillery, including the 155-mm M777 Howitzer – 90 of which Washington has pledged to provide to Kiev, the outlet said.

Another twenty-two Ukrainian servicemen completed Sunday’s training on the Phoenix Ghost loitering munition, which is state-of-the art.

The Hill reported that a top US defense official said Monday that more than fifty Ukrainian troops would be joining a training program later in this week.

US Army Brigadier General Joseph E. Hilbert, the head of the 7th Army Training Command in Europe, told journalists on Tuesday that the US instructors were “running them through a streamlined course here on the new equipment that they’ll be receiving.” He noted that the “All of these things are designed to bring them home as quickly as possible so they can then train other members of their army with the equipment.

Hilbert also confirmed that since 2015 the US has trained as many as 23,000 Ukrainian service members inside the country – a program which has so far cost $126 million. The United States continued providing training assistance to the Ukrainian military in Ukraine until this year when Russia’s threat forced it to withdraw all its personnel.

The US General revealed that Ukrainian troops have been a part of more than a dozen military exercises with American troops in the last seven years.

Since the start of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine on February 24, Washington has had to relocate the training program outside of Ukraine to Germany and some other locations, which US defense officials have refused to disclose.

General Hilbert characterized the Ukrainian soldiers receiving training as “Absolutely motivated and incredibly professional.” He added that the troops showed a clear understanding of how to operate the US-supplied weapons systems “They will do their best to achieve their goals as efficiently and effectively as possible, according to their strategies and their doctrine.

US General acknowledged the difficulties that language barriers presented, especially for US instructors who had to discuss technical equipment and weapons. The training course is also constantly being adapted to the current developments on the ground in Ukraine, “Incorporating the learnings from training and lessons learned,” Hilbert said.

Over two months after the Ukrainian military conflict broke out, the US increased dramatically its arms deliveries to Ukraine.

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Joe Biden, the US president, urged Congress late April to adopt his $33-billion Ukraine assistance package. It would provide $20 billion for military support in Kiev.

Last Thursday, the US House of Representatives backed a bill reviving the famous “Lend-Lease Act,” which was previously used to help the allies during WWII. It is now easier for US military equipment exports to Ukraine to be made.

Moscow for its part has consistently condemned NATO arms deliveries to Kiev, insisting they hinder the prospects for peace. Russian troops would also be considered legitimate military targets if they were to receive military equipment once they cross into Ukraine, according to the Kremlin.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French- and German-brokered protocols had been designed to confer special status on the Ukrainian breakaway areas. In response, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine be declared a neutral nation that would never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics.

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