US begins training Ukrainian forces in Germany – NBC New York

The U.S. military’s new, expanded combat training of Ukraine’s armed forces began Sunday in Germany with the goal of getting a battalion of about 500 soldiers back on the battlefield to fight the Russians over the next five to eight weeks, it said Gen. Mark Milley. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Milley, who plans to visit Grafenwoehr Training Area on Monday to see the program firsthand, said the troops being trained left Ukraine a few days ago. In Germany, they have a full set of weapons and equipment at their disposal.

The Pentagon has not yet said exactly when the training will begin.

The so-called combined arms training aims to improve the capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces so that they are better prepared to launch an offensive or to counter a surge in Russian attacks. They learn how to better move and coordinate their company- and battalion-sized units in combat, using combined artillery, armored, and ground forces.

Speaking to two reporters who were traveling with him to Europe on Sunday, Milley said the complex training – combined with a range of new weapons, artillery, tanks and other vehicles on the way to Ukraine – will be key to helping the armed forces of the country to help retake territory previously captured by Russia in the nearly 11-month-old war.

“This support is really important for Ukraine to be able to defend itself,” Milley said. “And we’re hoping to get this together shortly.”

The goal, he said, is for all incoming weapons and equipment to be shipped to Ukraine for the newly trained armed forces to deploy “sometime before the spring rains.” That would be ideal.”

The new order comes as Ukrainian forces face fierce fighting in eastern Donetsk province, where the Russian military claims it has control of the small salt-mining town of Soledar. Ukraine claims its troops are still fighting, but if Moscow’s forces take control of Soledar, they could close in on the larger town of Bakhmut, where fighting has been going on for months.

Russia also launched a widespread barrage of rocket attacks, including in Kyiv, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the southeastern city of Dnipro, where the death toll rose to 30 at an apartment building.

Milley said he wants to make sure training is going according to plan and if anything else is needed, and also to make sure it matches well with equipment deliveries.

The program includes classroom instruction and fieldwork that will begin with small platoons and gradually grow to larger units. It would culminate with a more complex combat exercise, bringing together an entire battalion and headquarters unit.

So far, the US focus has been on providing Ukrainian forces with more immediate battlefield needs, particularly how to deploy the wide array of Western weapons systems pouring into the country.

The US has already trained more than 3,100 Ukrainian soldiers to use and maintain specific weapons and other equipment, including howitzers, armored vehicles and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System known as HIMARS. Other nations also conduct training on the weapons they provide.

In announcing the new program last month, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said the idea was “to be able to give them that advanced level of collective training that allows them to conduct effective combined arms operations and maneuvers on the battlefield.”

Milley said the US conducted this type of training prior to the Russian invasion last February. But when the war started, all US National Guards and special forces training in Ukraine left the country. This new effort, being undertaken by the US Army Europe Africa’s 7th Army Training Command, will be a continuation of what they were doing prior to the invasion. Other European allies also offer training.