WASHINGTON — The U.S. has provided both equipment and training to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty against an illegal invasion by Russia that began in February. Now the U.S. will provide Ukrainian soldiers with combined arms and joint maneuver training as well.
"[This] is a logical next step in our ongoing training efforts, which began in 2014, to build the Ukrainian armed forces capacity," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing today. "While there's an understandable focus on the equipment being provided to Ukraine, training is and has been essential to ensuring Ukraine has the skilled forces necessary to better defend themselves."
Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command's 7th Army Training Command will provide the combined arms and joint maneuver training, Ryder said. It's expected that training will happen at U.S. ranges in Germany and will begin in the January timeframe.
The Ukrainians will determine which service members from Ukraine's armed forces will participate in the training, Ryder said, but it's expected about 500 Ukrainians a month will participate.
"What you can expect to see is that we will ... bring in battalion-sized units, and it will begin with things like live fire exercises, followed by squad, platoon and company level training that will then culminate in battalion-level maneuver training," said Ryder. "Importantly, it will also include battalion headquarters staff training."
Training, he said, will begin with classroom exercises and then shift to practical applications in the field beginning with work amongst the lowest-level units and working up to larger-unit training.
"You've heard Secretary Austin talk about that the equipment is important, but it's how to take that equipment and apply it in the field in a way that's going to enable you to do combined arms and achieve decisive effects on the battlefield," he said. "This training will contribute to that."
The U.S. has already been involved in providing training to the Ukrainian armed forces, in particular with regard to equipment the U.S. is providing or has committed to provide. Since April, Ryder said, about 3,100 Ukrainians have been trained.
Ryder also said it's not expected that additional U.S. troops will need to go to Europe to become involved in the new training.