US military ramps up training of Ukrainian forces
According to defense authorities, the US military is increasing weapon training for Ukrainian soldiers, with hundreds currently being taught on artillery systems, drones, and radars.
According to defense authorities, the US military is increasing weapon training for Ukrainian soldiers, with hundreds currently being taught about artillery systems, drones, and radars.
The program, which involves sending Ukrainians out of the country to train in various sites throughout Europe, has accelerated dramatically after the Pentagon reported in early April that it had educated roughly a dozen such personnel on how to use Switchblade drones.
More than 220 Ukrainians have now received training in US artillery, including the M777 Howitzer, a 10,000-pound device that can be carried by trucks and reach targets up to 18 miles distant with 155 mm shells. Washington has offered 90 such systems to Kiev.
Another 20 Ukrainian troops completed a week-long training course on the newly created Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial system on Sunday, with 121 of them being dispatched to Ukraine.
According to a senior US defense official on Monday, "there's more of that coming," detailing that over 50 more Ukrainians will arrive at one of the sites and begin training later this week.
On Tuesday, top US defense officials revealed at a House Armed Services Committee hearing that Ukrainian troops are receiving military training in the US, including how to use equipment provided by the Pentagon.
The US government has provided Ukraine with $2.3 billion in security assistance since President Joe Biden took office last January, including thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems.
"Some of them are being trained right here in the United States in our school system," US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley pointed out when asked if Ukrainian troops were being trained on how to use military equipment provided by Washington.
Gen. Joseph Hilbert, head of the 7th Army Training Command in Europe, said to reporters on Tuesday that the US is "running them through a streamlined course here on the new equipment that they’ll be receiving. The goal in all of this is to get them back as soon as possible so that then they can train others within their army on the equipment."
According to Hillbert, Ukrainian forces have participated in over a dozen war drills with US troops in Germany since 2015.
US personnel, including Florida Guard members, are training Ukrainians from outside the nation.
Grafenwöhr, home of the US Army Garrison Bavaria, is one of the places where 50 to 60 Ukrainian troops have been trained on howitzers. The first set of soldiers has returned to their homeland, and another batch of 50 to 60 soldiers is being trained.
According to Hilbert, the Ukrainians training there already have experience with the equipment they're using, "so for the howitzers, they are already Ukrainian artillerymen."
Hilbert revealed the training comes with some "natural challenges" like language barriers and describing more complex equipment.
“We’re absolutely paying attention to what is happening out there and we’re absolutely incorporating the lessons observed and the lessons that we learned in a part of training that we do, and that’s across the whole force,” he said.