This week, Ukrainian civil leaders Oksana Syroyid and Taras Pastukh visited the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Western Ukraine to gain a deeper understanding of how broad policy decisions are directly affecting Ukrainian soldiers.
During their visit, Syroyid and Pastukh met with senior Ukrainian military leaders and also with U.S. and Canadian military leaders from the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine and Operation UNIFIER.
Syroyid, the Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine, known formally as the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and Pastukh, a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defence and chairman of the subcommittee concerning the effectiveness of government funds use, both asked pointed questions about pay and resourcing, retention of all ranks, housing and the quality and quantity of Ukrainian equipment.
Following a question and answer session with the senior leaders, Syroyid and Pastukh had the opportunity to speak directly with Ukrainian soldiers training in the field.
"We would like to help you, tell me the truth about what you need," Syroyid said to the soldiers.
In addition to identifying challenges that the Ukrainian military is facing, another main aim of the politicians' visit was to assess the value of Ukraine's investment in training that the U.S. and other allied forces are helping to provide.
Syroyid and Pastukh observed counter-sniper training, detainee operations and an SPG-9 live fire range.
Training at the Yavoriv CTC is led by Ukrainian CTC staff, but is currently supported by U.S., Canadian, Polish and Lithuanian mentors who all share a common goal of building training capacity at the Yavoriv CTC.
U.S. Army Col. David Jordan, commander of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, said that the visit created an open dialogue between military and civil leaders which will benefit Ukraine moving forward, "Vice Speaker Syroyid made it clear early that their intent was to gain a better understanding of the challenges that the military faces so that they can look for ways to help."