600+ Ukrainian troops finish expanded US training: Pentagon
The Pentagon says the first Ukrainian battalion completed combined arms training on the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Germany.
The Pentagon on Friday announced that the first group of more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers has finished a US training course involving larger-scale maneuvers that could aid Kiev's forces in upcoming offensive operations.
"This week, the first Ukrainian battalion completed combined arms training on the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany," Spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement.
"Approximately 635 Ukrainians completed the approximately five-week period of instruction, which included basic soldier tasks like marksmanship, along with medical training, squad, platoon and company training, and a battalion force-on-force exercise," Ryder indicated.
The spokesperson added that a mechanized and a field artillery battalion began training two weeks ago, and two more battalions are due to start next week.
The United States has agreed to provide more than 100 Bradleys -- which are armed with 25 mm autocannons and can also fire anti-tank missiles -- to Ukraine, which is expected to launch an offensive against Russian troops in the coming months.
The United States -- which had already been training Ukrainian soldiers on the use of various weapons systems promised to Kiev -- announced the expanded training program at the end of last year.
On Wednesday, Dafna Rand, the director of the Office of Foreign Assistance at the State Department, said the US expects to provide an additional $9.9 billion in budget support to Ukraine.
"The US has provided $13 billion in budget support to the Government of Ukraine, and working with Congress in the coming months, we plan on providing $9.9 billion," Rand told a press briefing.
"[W]e remain committed to working with the Government of Ukraine to maintain its operational capacity and to provide additional budget support as necessary," she added.
This comes despite some US House lawmakers introducing a bill pushing for a peace settlement between Kiev and Moscow and ceasing US assistance to Ukraine.
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