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US ramps up training for Ukrainian military aimed at large-scale offensive operations


Daily Caller News Foundation

The U.S. began training Ukrainian troops in Germany on long-distance attack methods Sunday in a new and escalated training program designed to help Ukraine beat back Russia from occupied territory, according to The Associated Press.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the goal of the program is to get roughly 500 Ukrainian troops back on the battlefield, trained to perform complex maneuvers with combined arms, artillery and ground forces, some time before the spring rains, the AP reported. Waiting at the Grafenwoehr Army base in Germany is an array of weapons systems and equipment bound for Ukraine and members of the U.S. Army Europe Africa’s 7th Army Training Command.

“This support is really important for Ukraine to be able to defend itself,” Milley said, according to the AP. “And we’re hoping to be able to pull this together here in short order.”

Prior U.S. support focused on meeting Ukraine’s immediate needs on the battlefield and providing to 3,100 troops on operating and maintaining howitzers, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and other weapons, according to the AP. Ukrainian troops rotated to nearby NATO countries to receive training from the U.S. and allies on a variety of weapons.

The U.S. announced the upgraded training program in mid-December with an expanded focus on teaching the Ukrainians how to conduct attacks with different kinds of capabilities at once, using specialized Western equipment, according to Reuters.

“Combined arms maneuver training is a logical next step in our ongoing training efforts,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen Pat Ryder said.

U.S. special operations and Army National Guard forces have trained thousands of Ukrainian troops within the country since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, including on the type of combined arms training the new regime plans to incorporate, according to the AP. However, U.S. military personnel evacuated after Russia’s invasion.

Milley plans to visit the troops in Grafenwoehr Monday to inspect the new program, the AP reported.

Training begins as European allies have upgraded the capabilities of weapons destined for Ukraine, according to The New York Times. The United Kingdom approved a delivery of 14 Challenger 2 tanks, the first Western-made main battle tanks to head to Ukraine after the U.S. and France each announced new deliveries of heavy infantry fighting vehicles and light tanks.

Just weeks before the U.K. announcement, Western countries had shied away from offering heavy weaponry to Ukraine for fear of triggering an escalation from Russia, even as Ukraine begged for tanks, the NYT reported.

“We are becoming bolder, less risk reverse — less spooked by Putin’s rhetoric that any serious Western involvement could have repercussions,” Tobias Ellwood, chair of Britain’s Defense Select Committee said, according to the NYT.

Russia over the weekend launched a volley of cruise and ballistic missiles, which are more difficult for Ukrainian air defenses to intercept, the AP reported. Analysts warned that Russia is preparing to fight a major long-lasting conventional war.

“These tanks burn well and will continue to burn,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, according to state-run TASS news agency.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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