US training Ukrainians on Danish Harpoon missiles: official
After Denmark gave away Harpoon missiles to Ukraine, the United States is training Kiev's soldiers to use the systems against Russia.
The United States is training some 20 Ukrainian soldiers in a third country on the use of Harpoon missiles given to Kiev by Denmark in light of the Ukraine war, a senior US Defense Department official said Thursday.
"We're also helping facilitate some training of Ukrainians for coastal defense missiles now that the Danes are going to be contributing Harpoon launchers and vehicles," the Pentagon official stressed.
"[The Harpoon] was not designed for coastal defense. It was designed for anti-ship warfare, ship-to-ship warfare," the official added during his press briefing. "That's happening right now, outside of Ukraine, of course, and just under 20 Ukrainians are going through that training right now."
He also revealed that some 419 Ukrainian soldiers have completed their training on operating M777 155mm howitzers, 30 more have completed the basic maintenance, and seven have finished the advanced 14-day maintenance course.
The United States has already transferred to Ukraine at least 85 out of the 108 M777 howitzers it had committed, and the units are already in use, the official noted.
Washington has also delivered nine of the 11 Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine, and the last two are set to arrive later in May or very early June.
Additionally, a group of 20 Ukrainians is currently completing the second iteration of training on Phoenix Ghost drones, which is expected to finish by the end of May.
According to a tally revealed by the official, the United States has so far successfully transferred 220 Switchblade drones to Ukraine out of a total of 700 committed to the country.
Washington, since the start of the Ukraine war, has been the largest contributor of military equipment to Ukraine, which has received tons of equipment from about 14 countries.
Among a wide array of military equipment supplied to Kiev, there are more than 1,400 stinger SAM systems, 5,500 Javelin anti-armor systems, Switchblade drones, and M777 155mm howitzers.
US President Joe Biden authorized an additional $100 million in military aid for Ukraine, using his presidential drawdown authority for the 10th time, which will see Kiev obtaining an additional 18 M777 howitzers and three AN/TPQ-36 radar systems, among other pieces of equipment.
Following reports about the West granting more arms to Ukraine, The Washington Post reported Moscow sent a formal diplomatic note to the United States warning that Washington and Brussels' arms shipments were adding fuel to the fire of the war in Ukraine, stressing that this matter could bring upon "unpredictable consequences".
The US is still sending arms to Ukraine despite the Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, warning that the influx of Western arms to the conflict zone in Ukraine was adding fuel to the fire.